In his 2003 book, "Chief Performance Officer," author and consultant Tony Politano made a case for that very executive title in words that should have rung a bell for any grizzled capitalist: "In my twenty years of dealing with corporations, there is one unequivocal fact: increase corporate performance and you will increase stakeholder value."

In the years since, Politano has yet to come across an individual with the title of CPO (though he sees a few companies "doing" the CPO role in other ways). The fact doesn't bother him; most organizational and technology trends are identified years before they arrive. Rather, Politano says there is now a confluence of information demands that will tip organizations toward a holistic approach of performance with a titular head.

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