Microsoft CIO Tony Scott on life at the top

We talk about life, the universe and managing Microsoft.

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As Microsoft CIO, Tony Scott oversees the software giant's security, infrastructure, and messaging and business applications, and helps support the product and corporate business groups as well as Redmond's global sales and marketing organisation.

So you know, it's kind of an important job.

But even though he is in charge of the technology for one of the world's largest and most complex companies, Scott, who was previously CIO of Walt Disney and CTO at General Motors, still has the same day-to-day challenges as all CIOs, including giving guidance to employees, staying focused on the customer's needs and striking a healthy work/life balance.

Shane O'Neill visited Scott in his office at Microsoft headquarters to discuss the changing role of the CIO, how Microsoft is treated by the press and how kicking cigarettes made him a better CIO.

What are most challenging day-to-day aspects of being CIO of a giant company like Microsoft?

I think the challenge and the fun of it is you never quite know what's going to happen that day. We at Microsoft live in a pretty dynamic world. You feel good about the systems you have in place and the work you're doing, but there's always an unexpected element, in tech in particular, whether it's what competitors are doing or what you're own company is doing, or how the market is reacting to something.

There are always people who love what you're doing, there's people who are ambivalent about it, and there are people who hate it. So dealing with that on a daily basis is both the challenge and the opportunity.

I get mail everyday from people at Microsoft who say 'great job on this project!' and then right behind it will be somebody who is complaining that the very same thing is the most screwed up thing they've ever seen.

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