Chief Information Officer (CIO) is commonly defined as the person responsible for providing and managing the IT needs of the company. That job description doesn’t fit anymore as CIO nowadays doesn’t just lead the way to make things easier but they also fix things at the same time. We call them the “hands-on CIOs”, and sometimes we mistakenly identify them as the “IT guy” who we always call when we have that dreaded-blue-screen-of-death on our monitors, when our mouse cursor is running around in places, when we need an anti-virus installed, so on and so forth.
These situations are sometimes a challenge for “hands-on CIO”. They are taking orders, and leading the way at the same time. Oftentimes, they get distracted and loses focus on the most valuable work to be done, causing derailment on the overall operation of the enterprise.
Though their detailed tasks may depend on the nature of organization and business agenda, still there are set standards on how CIO contributes on any organization they are in. CIOs are always expected to perform as the technical strategic leader of the organization. Having the CIO title means a huge profile to portray. It may always be a broad discussion if we will talk about the CIOs’ responsibilities while in fact, the bottom line will always be found in the way the world sees how they perform their job. It will always fall on the judgment if they did a great job or not.
CIO is a strategic technical role; he needs to wear a couple of hats. The style and color maybe situation-driven, but they shouldn’t only be order takers for us to consider them an effective one. In most cases, effective CIO today needs to have strategic focus, make right decision, be learning agile, use mind probably more often than hand, but still be a tactical IT manager. It is given that they “keep the lights on” and adds value by being strategic not just around technology but the wider business. An experienced and competent CIO will recognize when a significant re-platforming or transformation of IT is needed versus a period of improvement of the existing platform with preparation for the next.
CIO may always be facing big challenges in performing their job, but the key to win is to show how information can advance their functions rather than waiting for the request. It is how well they are able to manage using the current progress in the external environment and make it a tool in advancing their enterprise. Many tools are just around the corners if they have the power to hold and control it using their strategies and hands.
One more important thing that a CIO should be aware of is the sources outside their boxes; the technological tools that they can use to perform more effectively. It is true that the key lies in your abilities to perform it well, but why not mix it with technical strategies to fully gain control on your IT assets.
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