Welcome to our premier issue of CIO Decisions, the first and only magazine devoted to CIOs and IT executives at midmarket enterprises. Not big companies. Not small companies. Our publication focuses instead on IT leadership in the fastest-growing segment of American business today: midsized companies with revenue of $50 million to $2 billion.
Some 40,000 to 50,000 businesses are thriving in this vast midmarket. Yet they are largely overlooked by the many publications covering enterprise IT. Those magazines pay most of their attention to the very largest firms found in the Fortune 1000 or Global 2000. "The midmarket is indeed a segment that has been left out in the cold," one CIO at a $500 million auto parts distributor told me recently. "We need a source that we can all use -- one that is not just for big companies."
In the process of creating CIO Decisions, we learned a great deal about the unique business and technology challenges midmarket IT executives face. Above all, you must be innovative yet frugal. You struggle with many of the same complexities as your colleagues at larger firms, but you juggle those tasks and solve those problems with smaller staffs and greater reliance on suppliers and service providers.
"In the midmarket, we don't date our vendors," one CIO told us. "We marry them."
You have to be both tactical and strategic. You also have to think on your feet.
"Because we are, like many midsized enterprises, family-owned, we can make big decisions quickly," writes CIO Les Johnson, whose ERP Journey diary makes its debut in this issue. "In a meeting not long ago, I presented a one-page summary of our options, including estimated costs. After two minutes of sticker-shock silence, we discussed the options. Then we decided to go ahead."
In midsized companies, IT/business alignment is a real possibility. "Being part of a smaller company, you know more of the people. You have access to senior management. Your responsibilities are more diverse," says Alex Munn, a former Coca-Cola VP and now COO of $1.7 billion Pacer International, whose case study about how a Sarbanes-Oxley audit led to an IT transformation is included in this issue.
Case studies, in-depth stories and interviews with your peers will drive our CIO Decisions coverage. We will focus on midmarket companies in a way no other CIO publication does.
Each month, our CIO Habitat research department will showcase original thinking from futurist Thornton May. This month he delivers a warts-and-all analysis of how CIOs view the software industry. In our unique 2-Way Street executive interview, we'll sit down with a CIO and a senior business colleague to talk about how they work together to deliver results. Our Vertical Views department will explore the specifics of how IT responds to business needs in a variety of industries such as retail, health care and manufacturing. Finally, in our opinion columns, you'll hear directly from experienced CIOs and IT practitioners about business alignment, project management, IT audits and enterprise software.
Launching this new magazine is a great show of faith in the future of midmarket companies and their IT leaders. We know you have a lot of great stories to tell. So raise your voices! We'd love to hear from you.
Maryfran Johnson is founding editor in chief of CIO Decisions. To comment on this story, email email@example.com.
This was first published in March 2005