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Chief information officer


Chief information officer

Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Information Technology (IT) Director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the commanding officer.


  • The need for CIOs 1
  • Roles and responsibilities 2
  • Risks involved 3
  • Information technology 4
  • Distinction between CIO and CTO 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

The need for CIOs

CIOs form a key part of any business that utilizes technology. In recent times, it has been identified that an understanding of just business or IT is deficient.[1] CIOs are needed for the management of IT resources as well as the “planning of ICT including policy and practice development, planning, budgeting, resourcing and training”.[2] In addition to this, CIOs are becoming increasingly important in calculating how to increase profits via the use of ICT frameworks, as well as the vital role of reducing expenditure and limiting damage by setting up controls and planning for possible disasters. Computer Weekly magazine highlights that “53% of IT leaders report a shortage of people with high-level personal skills” in the workplace.[3] In this way, CIOs are needed to decrease the gulf between roles carried out by both IT professionals and non-IT professionals in businesses in order to set up effective and working relationships.

Roles and responsibilities

The Chief Information Officer of an organization is responsible for a number of roles. Firstly and most importantly, the CIO must fulfil the role of business leader.[4] As a CIO must make executive decisions regarding things such as the purchase of IT equipment from suppliers or the creation of new systems, they are therefore responsible to lead and direct the workforce of their specific organization. In addition, the CIO is ‘required to have strong organizational skills’.[5] This is particularly relevant for a Chief Information Officer of an organization, who must balance roles in order to gain a competitive advantage and keep the best interests of the organization’s employees. CIOs also have the responsibility of recruiting, so it is important that they take on the best employees to complete the jobs the company needs fulfilling.

In addition, CIOs are directly required to map out both the ICT strategy and ICT policy of an organization. The ICT strategy covers future proofing, procurement and the external and internal standards laid out by an organization. Similarly, the CIO must write up the ICT policy, detailing how ICT is utilized and applied. Both are needed for the protection of the organization in the short and long term and the process of strategizing for the future. Paul Burfitt, former CIO of AstraZeneca also outlines the CIO’s role of IT governance, which he refers to as the “clarifying” of “accountability and the role of committees”.[6]

Risks involved

As the CIO has a large number of responsibilities such as provision of finance, recruitment of professionals and development of policy and strategy, the risks are consequently vast. The CIO of U.S company Target was forced into resignation in 2014 after the theft of 40 million credit card details and 70 million customer details by hackers.[7] CIOs carry out a large number of roles and therefore the chance of failure is very high. In this way, any CIO must be knowledgeable about the industry so they can adapt and reduce the chance of error.

Information technology

Information technology and its systems have become so important that the CIO has come to be viewed in many organizations as the key contributor in formulating project management skills.

In 2012, Gartner Executive Programs conducted a global CIO survey and received responses from 2,053 CIOs from 41 countries and 36 industries.[9] Gartner reported that survey results indicated that the top ten technology priorities for CIOs for 2013 were analytics and business intelligence, mobile technologies, cloud computing, collaboration technologies, legacy modernization, IT management, customer relationship management, virtualization, security, and enterprise resource planning.

CIO magazine's "State of the CIO 2008" survey asked 558 IT leaders who they report to. The results were: CEO (41%), CFO (23%), COO (16%), Corporate CIO (7%) and Other (13%).[10]

Typically, a CIO is involved with driving the analysis and re-engineering of existing business processes, identifying and developing the capability to use new tools, reshaping the enterprise's physical infrastructure and network access, and with identifying and exploiting the enterprise's knowledge resources. Many CIOs head the enterprise's efforts to integrate the Internet into both its long-term strategy and its immediate business plans. CIO's are often tasked with either driving or heading up crucial IT projects which are essential to the strategic and operational objectives of an organization. A good example of this would be the implementation of an FruITion that the Chief Information Officer (CIO) be replaced with Chief Internal Investments Officer (CIIO).[11]

Another way that the CIO role is changing is an increased focus on service management.[12] As SaaS, IaaS, BPO and other more flexible value delivery techniques are brought into organizations the CIO usually functions as a 3rd party manager for the organization. In essence, a CIO in the modern organization is required to possess business skills and the ability to relate to the organization as a whole, as opposed to being a technological expert with limited functional business expertise. The CIO position is as much about anticipating trends in the market place with regard to technology as it is about ensuring that the business navigates these trends through expert guidance and proper strategic IT planning that is aligned to the corporate strategy of the organization.

Distinction between CIO and CTO

The roles of both Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer are commonly blurred. Tom Silver, the North American senior vice president for Dice, states that CTOs are concerned with technology itself, whereas CIOs are much more concerned with its applications in the business and how this can be managed.[13]

More specifically, CIOs manage a businesses’ IT systems and functions, creates and delivers strategies and policies and places great emphasis on the customers internal to the company. In contrast to this, CTOs place emphasis on the external customers to the organization and focus on how different technology can make the company more profitable.[14]

See also


  1. ^ von Simson, Ernest. "The new role of the CIO". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  2. ^ University of Nottingham. "The role of a Chief Information Officers (CIO) or equivalent Senior ICT Manager". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  3. ^ Manwani, Sharm; Flint, David. "From manager to chief information officer". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Peppard, Joe (August 2010). "Unlocking the Performance of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)". California Management Review 52 (4): 5. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  5. ^ Lawry, Rachel; Waddell, Dianne; Singh, Mohini (2007). "Roles, Responsibilities and Futures of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in the Public Sector" (PDF). p. 3. Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  6. ^ Computer Weekly. "What exactly does a chief information officer do?". Retrieved 26 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Vaas, Lisa. "Target CIO Beth Jacob resigns in breach aftermath". Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  8. ^ Meridith Levinson (2007-07-05). "Should You Get an MBA? - - Business Technology Leadership". Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  9. ^ "Gartner Executive Program Survey of More Than 2,000 CIOs Shows Digital Technologies Are Top Priorities in 2013". Gartner. Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "State of the CIO 2008 Data Shows CIO Salaries, Influence Rising". CIO. Retrieved 27 February 2010. 
  11. ^ fruITion: Creating the Ultimate Corporate Strategy for Information Technology, Chris Potts, Technics Publications, LLC 2008
  12. ^ "CIO Magazine: Recession Shifts IT Service Management into Fast Lane". 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  13. ^ Zetlin, Minda. "CIO or CTO- What's in a Title?". Retrieved 27 October 2014. 
  14. ^ Hiner, Jason. "Sanity check: What's the difference between CIO and CTO?". Retrieved 27 October 2014. 

External links

  • El CIO y la ayuda a la producción El papel de CIO en una compañía
  • [1] a summary of CIO competencies based on the Clinger-Cohen competencies for CIOs, 2010.
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