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Chief information officer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chief information officer (CIO), chief digital information officer (CDIO) or information technology (IT) director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise who works for the traditional information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals.

Typically, the CIO reports directly to the chief executive officer but may also report to the chief operating officer or chief financial officer. In military organizations, they report to the commanding officer. The Chief Information Officer role was first defined[1] in 1981 by William R. Synnott, former Senior Vice President of the Bank of Boston, and William H. Gruber, former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.[2]

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O.K. Well, Let's get started. What particular skills, education or knowledge are necessary to be effective at your job? I think from an educational standpoint a business degree, a technical degree -- either or both -- are a good start. It gives you the background you need to get started in this field. Umm.. In my particular role, 15 years of IT experience and most of that in management was a requirement and I think it's a good requirement. Having about 10 years of infrastructure background, knowing how to manage operations, a technical staff, people management skills. Having a background in convincing senior management that we should be going down a certain path or doing a certain thing, and knowing how to sell ideas with them is a good set of skills to have as well I also think strategic planning - being able to understand where a business is going and translate that into an IT environment is a skill that you develop over time and that's a very valuable skill in this role Knowing project management, what it takes to implement a big project, what the components are how the people, the technology, need to intertwine in order to be successful and having a background in successful implementation of big projects is also a good background to have for this role What parts of your job do you find satisfying and unsatisfying? I think from a satisfaction level I really enjoy managing the people and the organization. Helping them plan out their careers, what kinds of skills they need to build, and motivating them to deliver good things for the organization I like planning an agressive set of projects for the year and seeing them all accomplished and making sure that those projects are things that help drive the business and make a difference I also enjoy changing 'business as usual' to continuous improvement, continuously advancing our operational environment and decreasing the cost of technology and complexity, and making that a good thing to happen for business every year and that ... that's what we try and keep the people focused on here as well. As far as things I don't enjoy I don't know what it would be. Everything has a challenge to it and it's fun. Probably looking at, reviewing contracts is not the thing I enjoy the most, but it has to be done but negotiating them is a fun thing to do .. so ... anyway that's the good and maybe the downside might be the contract aspect but for the most part I enjoy all aspects of my role here. What jobs and experience have led to your present position at Blue Cross Blue Shield I have about 36 years of experience in the IT field and started in 1972 ... believe it or not they actually had computers then and half of that time I've spent in developing business applications, financial systems, banking systems, transportation systems Probably the last fifteen years I've spent on the infrastructure side of IT Operating, building, developing the infrastructure it takes to run the computing systems So, I've had exposure in pretty much every aspect of IT And I've had a lot of opportunities in various industries to do a lot of different things So everything kind of led me here. And having a great deal of experience across this field has prepared me for this role. What were some keys to your career advancement? One thing I've always tried to do is continually advance my knowledge of this field. And I can do that through being a member of some local groups here in the twin cities, taking classes, taking all of the training opportunities that I could and going to different professional association meetings such as Gartner Group. There are all sorts of opportunities to gain knowledge in this field and you can do it every day just by reading articles out on the internet for that matter. I think another thing that's helped me advance my career is taking risks. I took risks like moving across the country a couple of times. Moving my family ... taking jobs I wasn't quite sure I was totally prepared for but I took them and kind of grew into the roles and also working in several industries I've been in dairy business, I've been in banking, I've been in transportation, I've been in the food business and here in the insurance company, so all sorts of different career fields, different industries, but the IT jobs are fairly consistent across all those industries And another thing I think is really important is building a network of professional people that you can call on People that you get to know And they know what's going on in their particular companies or for that matter in the profession and maintaining that network. It's difficult to do. But it's probably one of the best things you can do for your career. And when people network with me and ask me to help them I always try and take the opportunity to do so and it pays itself back many times over. Those are some of the things I think I've done to help my career. In upper level administration are you expected to work outside of your regular hours? For instance attending social events? Or expected to join organizations? Or work much overtime? I think you'll find in the senior roles there are no regular hours. And a forty hour work week is probably unheard of. You work more hours than that, typically. And there are meetings outside of work. There are early morning late night meetings, that sort of thing. It's not every day, but certainly there are situations that call for you to be there early and late. I think meeting with vendors ... sometimes that occurs after work I don't think anyone expects me to join a professional association and spend time there but I do it for me and I do it to make my skills better. and to stay connected so I don't think anyone actually expects that but I think it's important to do for yourself and your career Why did you decide to work for Blue Cross Blue Shield? Well I think one of the things that drew me here was the fact that I'd be working for a not-for-profit organization with the purpose of making a health difference in peoples' lives. I think for me that was much more motivating than enhancing share-holder value which is really the purpose of a -driven for profit company. and those are the ones I've worked for in the past. Also the ethical behavior, the community involvement also attracted me here. The scale and the scope of the role that I have today was broader than the ones I've had in the past and it enabled me to call on my experiences and to come in and make a real difference here and that attracted me as well. So .. I love the job. I love getting up and coming into work and I love what we do here. I've had 6 months experience as a help-desk analyst and desk-top support technician. How would you assess my experience for advancement in IT? In my opinion you have a very good start. You're getting the education and you have some experience and to me the experience entails dealing with people, dealing with technology, solving a problem. You have to solve problems every day that you're doing that job. And, you're also learning to put the pieces together. How does the business function? How do they use this particular device? What software do they use? And how do you make it work for the people in the business? So, I think you're getting some really good experience. And I would say you'd be ahead of someone coming in here with solely a degree. Where might I find upper level management announcements for CIO's or CTO's? Well as the name implies those are Chief type jobs, Chief Technical Officer, Chief Information Officer. They are officer level roles. And those jobs are typically not advertised in the open market. They're usually given by a company to an executive recruiter. And the recruiter finds you. Now, this is where it's very important to have a network of people in this profession because those people are the ones who hear about these roles perhaps in their own companies perhaps in another way through their networking and sometimes you can get a leg up by having your network tell you about positions as they are created and as they are given to an executive recruiter so when the recruiter calls people in your network they give them your name. and then you get contacted ... so that's how that works. Those roles are typically for people with several years of experience. Nonetheless, that's how those roles are typically filled in the industry. For my last question, I would like to know, which organizations or journals would help me in the IT field? In journals I really can't recommend one over another. There's a wealth of journals available. It depends on what your interests are. There's some industry specific groups that if you work for a company that has a subscription say to Gartner, Gartner Group That is a .. that's a company ... it's an industry organization They follow all of the IT aspects business direction, and they understand where this profession as well as the technology is going but the Twin Cities have a wealth of groups that you could look at and become a part of And as an example, Minnesota High Tech Association, MHTA, There's ISSA which is a group for security and several others ... Minnesota IPS which is Information Professional Society There's lots of groups. It depends upon what your interests are. But you should become a member of one or more of those groups because it helps you build a network of professionals that you can call on. People that can help you with your career. And it really keeps you appraised of what's going on in the local area as well as in your profession. So, any of those groups can help. And I would encourage you to become a member of one. O.K. Thank you for this information. You're welcome. Glad to talk to you today.


The need for CIOs

CIOs or CDIOs form a key part of any business that utilizes technology and data. In recent times, it has been identified that an understanding of just business or just IT is not sufficient.[3] CIOs manage IT resources and plan "ICT including policy and practice development, planning, budgeting, resourcing and training”.[4] 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.[5] Most organisations can't expect to fill demand for skilled resources and 57% of CIOs don't have the right learning and support mechanisms in place to enable current staff to meet the skill shortage.[6] 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. First and most importantly, the CIO must fulfill the role of business leader.[7] 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 for leading and directing the workforce of their specific organization. In addition, the CIO is ‘required to have strong organizational skills’.[8] 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”.[9]

In recent years the CIO and their close cousin has become more closely involved in customer facing products. With the rising awareness in organisations that their customers are expecting digital services as part of their relationship with an organisation, CIOs have been tasked with product oriented responsibilities. Clear examples of this are seen at facilities management company MITIE where former CIO of energy firm Centrica Davi Cooper is the CTIO and has an agenda to create online services for their customers.[10]

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.[11] 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.

With the introduction of legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) CIOs have now become increasingly focused on how their role is regulated and can lead to financial and reputation damage to a business. However, regulations such as GDPR have also been advantageous to CIOs enabling them to have the budget and authority in the organisation to make significant changes to the way information is managed. Sabah Khan-Carter of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp described GDPR as "a really big opportunity for most organisations".[12]

Information technology

Information technology and its systems have become so important that the CIO has come to be viewed in many organizations as a key contributor in formulating strategic goals for an organization. The prominence of the CIO position has greatly risen as information, and the information technology that drives it, has become an increasingly important part of the modern organization. Many CIOs are adding additional c-level titles to reflect the growing importance of technology in successfully running companies; this trend is referred to as the CIO-plus. The CIO may be a member of the executive committee of an organization, and/or may often be required to engage at board level depending on the nature of the organization and its operating structure and governance environment. No specific qualifications are intrinsic to the CIO position, though the typical candidate may have expertise in a number of technological fields - computer science, software engineering, or information systems. However, in healthcare there is a rising demand for CIOs to be qualified. The benefit of this is that they will then be seen as peers to their clinical peers and able to command greater respect and opportunity in the organisation.[13]

Many candidates have Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Management degrees.[14]  More recently, CIOs' leadership capabilities, business acumen and strategic perspectives have taken precedence over technical skills. It is now quite common for CIOs to be appointed from the business side of the organization, especially if they have project management skills.

Despite the strategic nature of the role, a 2017 survey, conducted by Logicalis, of 890 CIOs across 23 countries found that 62% of CIOs spend 60% or more of their time on day to day IT activities.[15]

In 2012, Gartner Executive Programs conducted a global CIO survey and received responses from 2,053 CIOs from 41 countries and 36 industries.[16] 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 whom they report to. The results were: CEO (41%), CFO (23%), COO (16%), Corporate CIO (7%) and Other (13%).[17]

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. CIOs are often tasked with either driving or heading up crucial IT projects that are essential to the strategic and operational objectives of an organization. A good example of this would be the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which typically has wide-ranging implications for most organizations.

Another way that the CIO role is changing is an increased focus on service management.[18] 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, CDO and CTO

The roles of Chief Information Officer, Chief Digital 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, often customer-facing, whereas CIOs are much more concerned with its applications in the business and how this can be managed.[19]

More specifically, CIOs manage a business's IT systems and functions, creates and delivers strategies and policies, and places great emphasis on internal customers. 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.[20]

The traditional definition of CTOs focused on using technology as an external competitive advantage now includes CDOs who use the power of modern technologies, online design and big data to digitalise a business.

Awards and recognition

It is not uncommon for CIOs to be recognised and awarded annually, particularly in the technology space. These awards are commonly dictated by the significance of their contribution to the industry and generally occur in local markets only. Awards are generally judged by industry peers, or senior qualified executives such as the chief executive officer, chief operating officer or chief financial officer. Generally awards recognise substantial impact to the local technology market.

In Australia, the top 50 CIOs are recognised annually under the CIO50 banner.[21] In the United States of America, United Kingdom and New Zealand CIOs are recognised under the CIO100 banner.[22][23][24]

See also


  1. ^ "williamgruber". williamgruber.
  2. ^ Synnott W.R. and Gruber W.H. (1981) Information Resource Management: Opportunities and Strategies for the 1980s. New York: Wiley-Interscience.
  3. ^ von Simson, Ernest. "The new role of the CIO". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  4. ^ University of Nottingham. "The role of a Chief Information Officers (CIO) or equivalent Senior ICT Manager". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  5. ^ Manwani, Sharm; Flint, David. "From manager to chief information officer". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  6. ^ "CIOWaterCooler - The Changing Shape of IT". Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  7. ^ Peppard, Joe (August 2010). "Unlocking the Performance of the Chief Information Officer (CIO)". California Management Review. 52 (4): 5. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  8. ^ Lawry, Rachel; Waddell, Dianne; Singh, Mohini (2007). "Roles, Responsibilities and Futures of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) in the Public Sector" (PDF): 3. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  9. ^ Computer Weekly. "What exactly does a chief information officer do?". Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  10. ^ Horizon CIO Network. "CIO Interview: David Cooper, CTIO of Mitie". Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  11. ^ Vaas, Lisa. "Target CIO Beth Jacob resigns in breach aftermath". Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  12. ^ Horizon CIO Network. "CIO Podcast: GDPR is a business opportunity". Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  13. ^ Horizon CIO Network. "UK's leading NHS CIOs discuss the need for professional qualification". Retrieved 19 April 2017.
  14. ^ Meridith Levinson (2007-07-05). "Should You Get an MBA? - - Business Technology Leadership". Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  15. ^ "Logicalis CIO Survey 2017-2018 | Think Hub". 2017-11-15. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  16. ^ "Gartner Executive Program Survey of More Than 2,000 CIOs Shows Digital Technologies Are Top Priorities in 2013". Gartner. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  17. ^ "State of the CIO 2008 Data Shows CIO Salaries, Influence Rising". CIO. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  18. ^ "CIO Magazine: Recession Shifts IT Service Management into Fast Lane". 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  19. ^ Zetlin, Minda. "CIO or CTO- What's in a Title?". Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  20. ^ Hiner, Jason. "Sanity check: What's the difference between CIO and CTO?". Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  21. ^ "Home- CIO 50- CIO". CIO.
  22. ^ "CIO 100 Symposium and Awards". CIO.
  23. ^ "CIO 100 Archive - CIO UK".
  24. ^ "CIO 100- CIO New Zealand". CIO New Zealand.

External links

CIO Applications provides knowledge network for CIOs to discuss their innovative enterprise solution and allows IT Vendors to learn about trending technologies, news and solutions that can help to grow their business.

This page was last edited on 7 January 2019, at 14:56
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