Chief Information Officer: Down to Business
Because even though the CIO heads the information technology group within an organization, the scope of responsibilities and expectations for this title have expanded to focus on aligning technology to the needs of the business. A precedent has been set for CIOs: A more dynamic, versatile and business-focused leader who can demonstrate how an IT arm is influencing and supporting the rest of the business in regard to sales, costs, profits, and revenues. The CIO role has been revamped to cover an array of duties and tasks often tied to the business side of organizations. Jeff Tietz, CIO of Fellowes Inc., a global manufacturer, and marketer of business machines record storage solutions and technology accessories said his day starts the night before with a work-plan review for his group to address the most critical issues to the business. Being flexible is a core skill – it gives the IT group the ability to respond to and assist the business and its customers as issues arise.
The added emphasis on business means IT departments are being relied on more and more for attaining and honing business acumen. CIOs must able to define those technical and communicational aspects in terms of positive results for the business – now more than ever, CIOs are expected to validate their worth and their IT team’s worth in quantifiable terms for other departments in their businesses. Barry emphasizes CIOs’ ability to see the big picture in their business to effectively provide for it. As you move up in the organization, your ability to code means less, and strong business skills take precedence. In the past, degrees in software engineering, computer science, information systems or a similar field were mandatory, but many CIOs today have been recruited from more business-focused disciplines.
A CIO is likely to be pulled from the business side of the organization. The domain of business intelligence is becoming increasingly chaotic, as information continues to flow out of a variety of sources and into every area of organizations.