Let’s go clubbing

The CIO club is an excellent start - but the organisation needs to expand and define its aims

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By  Eliot Beer Published  June 8, 2008

So the UAE is to get a CIO club the first in the region. This idea has been floating around for a while now - indeed one of my colleagues has been agitating for something very similar - so goodwill and enthusiasm should definitely be there for this new organisation.

But goodwill can only take you so far; what the club will need is a long-term commitment from its members - as well as members that really count. Too often regional events see a good spread of enterprises listed - but only junior representatives present on the ground: the CIO club will need actual decision-makers if it is to make a difference.

Quite what the organisation's remit will be is not yet clear. At the inaugural meeting, the members agreed to share information on ERP projects and application integration, and looked ahead to tackling best practices and similar issues. These are decent starts - but the club has much more potential to act as an advocate for critical issues, much as vendor-specific end-user organisations such as the SAP Users Group MENA do currently.

The advantages of a collective come not only from the ability to share best practices and advice, but also to confront other organisations - vendors, say - on important issues, from training availability to pricing, even to local language support. Clearly the idea of a CIO ‘union' is not feasible - even with the local antipathy to unions left aside - but any organisation representing significant numbers of professionals will have a large degree of advocacy power.

Fifty CIOs is an excellent start for the new CIO club - and if its organisers get their way, many more across the region will soon be getting involved. If the plan for chapters throughout the Middle East comes off, the club could become a seriously interesting regional force.

ACN applauds the start the CIO club has made - and will be watching future developments with interest.

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