Field Guide to the Nerds

Researchers are compiling ethnographic, sociologic and other kinds of profiles in an effort to understand the elusive creature that is you. A few of these investigators, such as consultancy Gartner Group in Stamford, Conn., and executive search agency John J. Davis & Associates in New York City, have come up with their own field guides to spotting CIOs in the wild.

Gartner Group Inc. points out these four species of CIO:

* The Strategist shapes top-level business needs and expectations across the company but doesn’t implement.

* The Chief Technology Officer ensures that technology services are as cost-effective as possible, including taking full advantage of sourcing opportunities.

* The Opportunist finds new business opportunities, especially those driven by e-business and emerging technology.

* The Departmental CIO directs IT for a business unit within a larger company. This CIO shapes expectations and delivers specific services to the business unit.

Davis & Associates applies different names:

* The Plumber manages IT purely as a support function, like plumbing. His company’s approach to technology is purely utilitarian, and his IT spending is limited.

* The Wizard is supposed to solve all of a company’s problems through IT. Also sometimes known as visionaries, these creatures are still much in demand.

* The Businessperson has a command of the technology, but also a firm focus on the company’s business strategy, especially the bottom line.