What does a CIO do?

2 Nov

In my first blog entry I gave a brief history into the position of the CIO, where the term came from and who initiated the role and oconnormatty7 has added to this with his latest blog entry “The Role of the CIO throughout History”. But for this entry I am going to be looking into what and who exactly is a CIO? There have been many interesting blogs before this ranging in many different areas of the CIO.

The “Military CIO” by aherntim1 was another entry that took the role of the CIO to another area all together and is something I wouldn’t have touched upon at all but that just shows that the role of the CIO is growing and growing into more areas than we could have originally imagined.

But for this blog I am going to ask the question “What exactly it is the CIO does”. There have many terms coined about what exactly the CIO is and does but really what it boils down to is information.

A chief information officer’s main role is all about the information and how he or she manages it. Information to make the correct strategic business decision, about the customer’s needs and information in just about everything that is crucial to the operation and direction of the business. In essence that is what the CIO is required to do but along with the coveted title the person is required to understand everything there is to know the business’ information needs and absolutely everything about the technology that is out there which can be used to deliver the information in the most cost effective and timely manner.

Michael Scheuerman, an independent consultant, wrote that he believes that there are 4 key needs for someone to fulfil the role of the chief information officer and they are:


It is essential for the CIO to be aware of what information is needed for the crucial business decisions hence why participation in the development and management of the business strategy is imperative.


A question every CIO must ask themselves is what kind of business technology can best deliver the information that is required for the business? And with this in mind a CIO needs to be both business and technical savvy. The CIO can the act as the middle man between those who establish the goals and strategies of the business and those who implement the technology.


As anon100 posted in his last blog “Communication is critical for today’s CIO” this is following on from that point. The next big area of focus for the CIO in these 4 key points is to develop a communication plan as to let all the major players in the business know what progress is being made if any on the information that they need. Communication at all levels is vital because if the employees don’t know there is forward momentum with a project then the CIO runs the risk of someone becoming impatient and unhappy as they do not know what is going on. Information about progress is just as important about information for business decisions.


This is definitely one the most important needs the CIO has to fulfil. The delivery of project deadlines and budgets goes a long way to determining whether a CIO is a success or a failure. There are multiple components to delivery ranging from security, vendor due diligence/management, infrastructure etc. and every single one of these components has a crucial role to play in delivering either a large or small piece of information that a business strategy hinges on. A CIO must deliver the right piece of information at the right time to the right person every single day. If it happens that the information is late or faulty the CIO will get the blame regardless if it his/her fault because the tools of modern business are technology based. A CIO is required to know nearly everything about the business he/she is in an everything about the technology and be able to explain in layman’s terms to people who don’t know the first thing about technology or to people who don’t care about it.


Keep coming back for more on the comings and goings of the CIO.

You stay classy ISBP.


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