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Inside the social network

Divina Paredes | Aug. 21, 2012
Tim Campos may be CIO of Facebook -- a company whose user numbers rival and even top the population of some countries -- but he faces the same quandary as his colleagues across the globe, across industries and organisation size.

"It is going to create opportunities for all of us but it is also going to be very different from what the head of IT has needed to be in the past," he says.

Differentiators

Campos says there is one distinct trait of CIOs -- which may not be true for other members of the executive suite. "One of the real benefits of being a leader in IT is that the function is typically more open to sharing than other functions of like capabilities," he says.

"CFOs can't go and share best practices on sales forecasting or accounting practices, VPs of engineering are not able to share their secret sauce."

"IT organisations are typically more open because we are all getting different flavours of the same things," says Campos. "We are all using Oracle, Microsoft and Salesforce but the innovation is in the application of the technology, not the technology itself."

He likewise believes the position delivers an advantage for those aiming to become CEOs. "One of the benefits of the CIO role is you understand all aspects of the company," he says. "CIOs that are best aligned with the business have this opportunity" to progress to the top role.

Campos is an advocate of continuous education. "Most of us spend the first 20 to 22 years of our life in an educational setting and then we go off into our careers and think we have done with college and will never have to go back," he says. "That is not growth."

He says it is useful, particularly for those who are midway in their career, to take a step back and consider taking up an activity that they want but are not sure they need. "It opens up new doors and allows you to start to see the role in a different light."

Campos says this happened to him when he enrolled in his MBA. "I learned a lot about global macro-economics. I learned about technology strategy not from a technical perspective but how you take the strategy into the technology industry."

"I wouldn't trade for a moment my education, I think it helps me everyday," he says but will not go so far as saying that having those three extra letters is the way one can achieve this. "It could be working in the business itself."

"A formal study of business is actually very valuable for IT roles because IT is really the confluence of business and technology and you have to understand both.

Campos completed his MBA while working as a CIO -- and has practical insights on how to achieve this balancing act.

"It is a combination of prioritisation and time," he says. "The first thing is, do you have time or not? The reality is, we all have the exact same 24 hours. It is what we use to do with that time that matters and we tend to focus on things that are most important.

 

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