For rent: Your next CIO

A real life rent-a-CIOJohn Thornborough considers himself a rent-a-CIO. Thornborough was an information systems manager though the 1970s and early 1980s and in 1984 left a large manufacturing and wholesaling organisation (Leyland Australia) to set up his own consultancy.

A real life rent-a-CIO

John Thornborough considers himself a rent-a-CIO. Thornborough was an information systems manager though the 1970s and early 1980s and in 1984 left a large manufacturing and wholesaling organisation (Leyland Australia) to set up his own consultancy.

"I saw the opportunity to leverage my experience into a number of companies who were unable to make the leap from IT as an operational tool into IT as a business enabler," says Thornborough.

In the late 1980s he joined an international management consulting firm (DMR) which enabled him to work with larger, higher-profile organisations and he developed an interest in the creation of IT strategies.  After being a practice manager for DMR for a number of years, he was asked to become their first CIO.

"My initial mandate was Asia Pacific and for the last three years of that role, I was also the CIO for the International Division, covering Asia Pacific, Europe, South and Central America—about 40 locations in all," says Thornborough.

Some of Thornborough's recent placements are direct referrals, but he prefers to work through an organisation, such as Sydney-based recruitment agency McLean Kerrigan Jackson,  that has a broad business base, rather than just an IT focus.

"There is a re-emerging realisation that IT will deliver value to the business if it is seen as a supporter of business initiatives—rather than as a cost that has to be managed.  The outcome is a net improvement to the organisation value, rather than simply a management of IT's costs," he says.

His contract lengths depend on the requirements of the client. "The establishment of direction and the recruitment of a permanent placement could be achieved in four to six months.  On the other hand, some organisations would like to have a CIO replaced every two to three years so that the creativity and focus remains fresh," he says.

One of the benefits for Thornborough of being a rent-a-CIO is the ability to pursue other interests between assignments.  "Working 70 to 80 hours a week as a CIO allows few extra-curricular interests and it is important to refocus, or to be re-energised by a different problem," he says.

Thornborough says the key value to clients is to be able to use a proven performer in the time that is most critical—that is a change of direction, or as a checkpoint on progress.  "The interim CIO can formulate recommendations and a plan. A resource to carry out the plan in the longer-term need not be as experienced or may feel better working within a framework that has been laid out.  This usually provides a cost-effective outcome with high value and agreed content.  Also, many organisations prefer to cycle through some of their executive management on a regular basis as a mechanism that ensures fresh ideas and new eyes on the problem," he says.

Subscribe now to Australian Technology & Business magazine. A real life rent-a-CIO

John Thornborough considers himself a rent-a-CIO. Thornborough was an information systems manager though the 1970s and early 1980s and in 1984 left a large manufacturing and wholesaling organisation (Leyland Australia) to set up his own consultancy.

"I saw the opportunity to leverage my experience into a number of companies who were unable to make the leap from IT as an operational tool into IT as a business enabler," says Thornborough.

In the late 1980s he joined an international management consulting firm (DMR) which enabled him to work with larger, higher-profile organisations and he developed an interest in the creation of IT strategies.  After being a practice manager for DMR for a number of years, he was asked to become their first CIO.

"My initial mandate was Asia Pacific and for the last three years of that role, I was also the CIO for the International Division, covering Asia Pacific, Europe, South and Central America—about 40 locations in all," says Thornborough.

Some of Thornborough's recent placements are direct referrals, but he prefers to work through an organisation, such as Sydney-based recruitment agency McLean Kerrigan Jackson,  that has a broad business base, rather than just an IT focus.

"There is a re-emerging realisation that IT will deliver value to the business if it is seen as a supporter of business initiatives—rather than as a cost that has to be managed.  The outcome is a net improvement to the organisation value, rather than simply a management of IT's costs," he says.

His contract lengths depend on the requirements of the client. "The establishment of direction and the recruitment of a permanent placement could be achieved in four to six months.  On the other hand, some organisations would like to have a CIO replaced every two to three years so that the creativity and focus remains fresh," he says.

One of the benefits for Thornborough of being a rent-a-CIO is the ability to pursue other interests between assignments.  "Working 70 to 80 hours a week as a CIO allows few extra-curricular interests and it is important to refocus, or to be re-energised by a different problem," he says.

Thornborough says the key value to clients is to be able to use a proven performer in the time that is most critical—that is a change of direction, or as a checkpoint on progress.  "The interim CIO can formulate recommendations and a plan. A resource to carry out the plan in the longer-term need not be as experienced or may feel better working within a framework that has been laid out.  This usually provides a cost-effective outcome with high value and agreed content.  Also, many organisations prefer to cycle through some of their executive management on a regular basis as a mechanism that ensures fresh ideas and new eyes on the problem," he says.

Subscribe now to Australian Technology & Business magazine. A real life rent-a-CIO

John Thornborough considers himself a rent-a-CIO. Thornborough was an information systems manager though the 1970s and early 1980s and in 1984 left a large manufacturing and wholesaling organisation (Leyland Australia) to set up his own consultancy.

"I saw the opportunity to leverage my experience into a number of companies who were unable to make the leap from IT as an operational tool into IT as a business enabler," says Thornborough.

In the late 1980s he joined an international management consulting firm (DMR) which enabled him to work with larger, higher-profile organisations and he developed an interest in the creation of IT strategies.  After being a practice manager for DMR for a number of years, he was asked to become their first CIO.

"My initial mandate was Asia Pacific and for the last three years of that role, I was also the CIO for the International Division, covering Asia Pacific, Europe, South and Central America—about 40 locations in all," says Thornborough.

Some of Thornborough's recent placements are direct referrals, but he prefers to work through an organisation, such as Sydney-based recruitment agency McLean Kerrigan Jackson,  that has a broad business base, rather than just an IT focus.

"There is a re-emerging realisation that IT will deliver value to the business if it is seen as a supporter of business initiatives—rather than as a cost that has to be managed.  The outcome is a net improvement to the organisation value, rather than simply a management of IT's costs," he says.

His contract lengths depend on the requirements of the client. "The establishment of direction and the recruitment of a permanent placement could be achieved in four to six months.  On the other hand, some organisations would like to have a CIO replaced every two to three years so that the creativity and focus remains fresh," he says.

One of the benefits for Thornborough of being a rent-a-CIO is the ability to pursue other interests between assignments.  "Working 70 to 80 hours a week as a CIO allows few extra-curricular interests and it is important to refocus, or to be re-energised by a different problem," he says.

Thornborough says the key value to clients is to be able to use a proven performer in the time that is most critical—that is a change of direction, or as a checkpoint on progress.  "The interim CIO can formulate recommendations and a plan. A resource to carry out the plan in the longer-term need not be as experienced or may feel better working within a framework that has been laid out.  This usually provides a cost-effective outcome with high value and agreed content.  Also, many organisations prefer to cycle through some of their executive management on a regular basis as a mechanism that ensures fresh ideas and new eyes on the problem," he says.

Subscribe now to Australian Technology & Business magazine.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All