tiistai 27. joulukuuta 2011

The Role of Chief Information Officer (CIO)

Doctor´s role is clear, teacher is teaching and CIO is ..? Doing what? What is the definition or work description for Chief Information Officer (CIO)? How the content of one CIO´s job differs from the other CIO´s role? Why many of CIO´s feel inconvenient in their daily job? Why their colleagues are not necessary interested in information management topics or even wondering what CIO does?

Well working information management and related technologies implementation are mandatory for successful organizations. IT is also very critical success factor for many organizations, eg banking sector, manufacturing, telecommunications and many more. To manage IT is getting more complex based on the latest researches.

We have researched CIO job by interviewing around 20 large organization’s experienced CIO´s. There are have plenty of interesting findings; many of interviewed CIO´s are not too very happy in their jobs, some of them sounded even frustrated. They have a great variety with their backgrounds and education. Half of them have IT related education, the other´s educations vary strongly. Their job role has changed strongly during the last decade. Still ten years ago IT managers focused mainly on programming systems for enterprise functions use. Many interviewed told that in the past there was “more time” to do things. Those systems were based on some of the few coding languages and narrow set of available infrastructure. Nowadays few companies write anymore any programs for their business use.

Today´s IT professional´s role is to manage a wide network consisting of IT skilled people both inside the company but especially outside. Applications and IT tools are purchased and integrated to other systems in a joint architecture. Almost every CIO has line manager position for a wide number of IT professionals. CIO´s say that they need to know and understand their company processes wider than anyone else, including eg chief executive officer (CEO).

Many CIO´s focus is on creating company´s enterprise architecture containing layers from top level company strategy to lowest IT infrastructure level. Based on the wide set of needed skills, I could compare CIO role to decathlons in Olympic Games athletics. Those decathlon sportsmen are not necessary the best one´s in all of the single sports but when all the results are summed up, the winner is the real king of the games.

My opinion is that CIO job should earn higher respect, which would lead to better satisfaction in their jobs. But the present CIO´s have also a key role to earn respect by their strong contribution to develop enterprises processes and keep those up and running. However, that requires continuous skills and competences development and adapting the latest innovations. Our universities and schools need to be ready to meet this growing need of helping and educating the present and coming information management professionals, especially CIO´s, in their roles. I am sure; in close cooperation we could meet this challenge.

Happy New Year,
Harri Hyvönen

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