Chief information officer
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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 with information technology and computer systems in order to 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 role of Chief Information Officer was first defined in 1981 by William R. Synnott, former Senior Vice President of the Bank of Boston, and William H. Gruber, a former professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) Sloan School of Management. A CIO will sometimes serve as a member of the board of directors.
The need for CIOsEdit
CIOs and CDIOs form a key part of any business that utilizes technology and data. Over recent years it has become increasingly understood that a knowledge of just business or just IT is not sufficient. Instead, CIOs manage IT resources and plan "ICT, including policy and practice development, planning, budgeting, resourcing and training.” Additionally, CIOs are playing an increasingly crucial role 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. Most organizations cannot expect to fill the demand for skilled resources, and 57% of CIOs do not have sufficient education and support mechanisms in place to enable their current staff to meet these skill shortages. CIOs are needed to decrease the gulf between roles carried out by both IT professionals and non-IT professionals in businesses to set up effective and working relationships. [check quotation syntax]
Roles and responsibilitiesEdit
The Chief Information Officer of an organization is responsible for a several business functions. First and most importantly, the CIO must fulfill the role of a business leader. The CIO makes executive decisions regarding matters such as the purchase of IT equipment from suppliers or the creation of new IT systems. Also as business leader, the CIO is responsible for leading and directing the workforce of their specific organization. A CIO is typically "required to have strong organizational skills." This is particularly relevant for the Chief Information Officer of an organization who must balance roles and responsibilities in order to gain a competitive advantage, whilst keeping the best interests of the organization's employees in mind. CIOs also have the responsibility of recruiting, so it is important that they work proactively to source and nurture the best employees possible.
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 develop the ICT policy, which details 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".
In recent years, CIOs have 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 organization, CIOs have been tasked with more product-oriented responsibilities. A clear example of this can be 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.
Due to the quantity and nature of the responsibilities that the CIO has – such as the 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. 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 their chances 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".
Educational background and technology skillsEdit
Many candidates have a Master of Business Administration degree or a Master of Science in Management degree. 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.
In 2012, Gartner Executive Programs conducted a global CIO survey and received responses from 2,053 CIOs from 41 countries and 36 industries. 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.
Typically, the 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 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 increasing focus on service management. 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 CTOEdit
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.
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.
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 recognitionEdit
It is not uncommon for CIOs to be recognized 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. In the United States of America, United Kingdom and New Zealand CIOs are recognized under the CIO100 banner.
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