Recently I was asked to define the role of a CIO in medium-sized businesses so I thought I would share my thoughts and research on the topic. There are many definitions of the CIO’s role. Traditionally the CIO role is defined as managing technology for the business and managing how information is utilized. Views vary whether the role is best served by a business person or a technologist.
In fact, the role of CIO has changed significantly in medium-sized businesses over the past several years. Once viewed as order takers and leaders of the “techie group”, CIOs now work with the CEO and senior executives to understand current and future business goals, develop technical strategies that enable and facilitate those goals, bring technology enabling opportunities to the business, and create alignment within the IT organization and across its actions.
Effective CIOs see the big picture, understand and anticipate where the business is going, anticipate what challenges may be faced and what opportunities might arise that can be leveraged to benefit a medium-sized business. CIOs take the initiative to distil changes in the technology marketplace, translate those changes into business value, surface technology-based opportunities, innovate and experiment, and lead cross-organization initiatives to achieve the strategic and tactical business goals.
As an example, the CIO must anticipate the impact of changes from a workforce that is more mobile, works from many locations, uses multiple devices (corporate and personally owned), and has “consumer expectations” of IT technology.
The CIO’s new role is to serve as a broker or conduit to business and technology solutions, assist in re-engineering business processes, educate the organization about potentially valuable technologies, and negotiation with and manage vendors. Most importantly, the CIO facilitates the organization’s access to online services, business applications, hardware and software tools, and technology-based services.
CIOs constantly ask themselves and the organization questions such as:
Sources for this post: In addition to my own views on the topic, there were also several useful resources if found as part of my research. Some views matched up very well, while others held a differing opinion. Feel free to check out these resources.
Short URL to this post: http://goo.gl/fzH5K
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.