The Role of the CIO

Today, it’s both a challenging and exciting time for CIOs. The role of the CIO previously was to lead the information systems and data processing departments. Today, however, the responsibilities and skill sets of a CIO are drastically different. CIOs are not there to worry about how to keep all those systems connected while saving money by moving to the cloud. Today, they have a more prominent place in a business’ strategic decision-making and are in a position to do a lot more.

CIOs are there to drive the thinking and resulting strategies regarding what to do with all the compiled data. They find ways to take the business forward by getting maximum value from the data on hand.

What do CIOs bring to the table in today’s highly-competitive and tech-focused business environment?

What is the Role of a CIO?

A CIO is in the executive position that deals with the IT needs of an enterprise. The role can’t portray with an exact description. Today’s CIOs are distancing from operational responsibilities, and their part includes:

  • Strategic planning of growth objectives
  • Creating business value through innovation and technology
  • Ensuring that the tech procedures and systems lead to desired results

Collaboration platforms, big data analytics, cloud computing, mobile computing, IoT, and AI are new challenges that CIOs now face. Their focus has shifted to data security, service analysis, and market reach.

CIO: Skills and Qualifications

Typically, CIOs have degrees in information systems, software engineering, and computer science. Besides an IT background, an essential factor for landing a CIO role is - experience. Employers seek people with a minimum of 5-year experience in IT management as well as business acumen. The essential skills for the CIO position are – leadership, strategic planning, project management, software development management, change management, relationship and network building, and financial and business acumen.

Does Every Company Need a CIO?

With outside consultants, cloud-based tools, and gumption, a small business with basic tech needs can survive. However, that’s only temporary, as every company comes to a point when somebody other than the CEO needs to make IT decisions. This point is at a unique moment in your growth, and you’ll need to answer questions like:

  • Do I need a tech leader to manage information security before launch?
  • Should my company start looking for an IT leader when the internal operations become too cumbersome?
  • What qualifications, skills, and experience should we look in that person?

To ensure that your IT lead has an equal and active role in deciding what’s best for your enterprise, you need a CIO that has worked outside of a digital environment, who has navigated a corporate environment, and who can help bring the clout of the C-level title.

With new technological advancements, the CIO position continues to evolve; fueled by several significant trends that are coming our way and are mutually reinforcing each other. These trends are IoT, DevOps, and Big Data (paired with analytics and machine learning). The CIOs are the ones who should be driving these areas forward, knowing both tech and business trends. Certain key areas, such as agriculture, insurance, law, biotech, and healthcare are much affected by technology. There, CIOs are left concerned with the increasing expectations placed upon them.

When looking to hire a CIO, be sure to check whether they are qualified, skilled, and experienced enough for the position. On the other hand, your enterprise may benefit from fractional CIO services. These services deliver a flexible tech solution that evolves and adapts to meet your evolving needs. Contact Managed Solution to help you evaluate your business needs.


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