No let up for IT bosses over the holidays

The end-of-year holidays might be a time of peace on Earth, but CIOs are unlikely to be so relaxed this festive season, with many saying they'll still be on call over the holidays.
Written by Julian Goldsmith, Contributor
Christmas may be a time of peace on earth but CIOs are unlikely to be so relaxed this festive season, with many saying they'll still be on call over the holidays.

The latest silicon.com CIO Jury found two-thirds of IT bosses confessing they'll be available to work should anything go wrong over the Yuletide holiday.

Some on-call CIOs are required to support their company's operations around the world, which may cover countries that don't celebrate the holiday.

Jeff Roberts, director of IT at global legal firm Norton Rose, said: "We have offices worldwide and commitments to clients, so there is likely to be some business happening somewhere. I am always available to be called if necessary but I also have a great team made-up of several on-call technical experts and escalation managers. Who gets called on Christmas Day - if anyone - will usually depend upon the severity or urgency of the problem."

It's not global companies who need round the clock support over the festive period - some UK-specific businesses also require their IT staff at the highest level to be available throughout the holiday. For CIOs from hospitals and other emergency services, for example, Christmas day can be just another busy working day.

Some media companies too do not grind to a halt - Ian Auger at ITN said: "You never know what will happen in a 24/7 organization and Christmas is no exception. We have staff scheduled to work who can deal with most issues but I, and other senior members of my team, will always be available to back them up if needed. From a news perspective, Christmas is always thought to be a quiet time but there is usually something going on around the world that seems to go against this."

Not all organizations require their IT head to be on call on Christmas Day and four out of the CIO Jury can rest easy in front of the Queen's Speech this year.

Today's CIO Jury:

• Ian Auger, IT director, ITN
• Dr Ben Booth, global CTO, Ipsos Mori
• Steve Clarke, broadband systems & operations director, AOL
• Pete Crowe, IT director, Fat Face
• Martin Frick, CIO, Avis Europe
• Steve Gediking, head of IT & facilities, Independent Police Complaints Commission
• Chris Martin, CTO, Cheapflights
• Jeff Roberts, director of IT, Norton Rose
• Richard Storey head of IT, Guys & St Thomas' Hospital
• Norman Swift, head of IT, John Lewis
• David Supple, head of IT, ECOTEC Research & Consulting
• Steve Williams, director of information systems and services, Newcastle University

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