The Chief Information Officer is commonly the senior executive responsible for information technology as well as computer systems. This role is sometimes used interchangeably with the role of the chief technology officer, although they may be quite different. In some organizations, there will only be one person responsible for both functions, but where they are separate, the Chief Information Officer will be responsible for practices and processes supporting information flow, while the Chief Technology Officer will typically be responsible for technology infrastructure. Due to the importance of IT and it’s centrality in the Information age we live in, the CIO is considered a key contributor to formulating and achieving strategic goals in an organization and therefore the process of selecting and hiring the most suitable individual is so important. The usual criteria when selecting any senior executive would typically apply to this position also, and would thus require the selected individual to have good people skills, leadership abilities, problem-solving and planning skills.
As an executive, they would need to be able to operate well in a team and to be a self-starter. Being part of the strategic management team, growth management skills are essential, which would enable him/her to anticipate, plan and position the organization for growth and being in the ever and fast-changing field of information technology, it would also require an individual to stay well informed of the latest trends and developments in the field. Having some project management skills would also be beneficial. The individual should have the ability to assess the businesses needs, to do strategic planning, to develop a technology vision supporting the needs of the company, budgeting, presentations and to prioritize technology initiatives. The individual should be able to define the organization that is required in order to accomplish business objectives, to manage staff and keeps them focused in order to achieve objectives and to participate in training programs to fill gaps in expertise and also to build in depth know how.
The individual should be able to develop his staff members and to keep them motivated. This would include knowledge about the industry and the business, programming change management process, backlog management and communication, software applications and software release processes.