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The Role of the Cio

In: Computers and Technology

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The CIO position first appeared early in 1980 it was a response to the inescapable future utilization of information technology in organizations and the development of the information economy. The CIO position gradually became more influential as IT increasingly played a more central role in business processes and overall strategy” (CIO2).The Chief Information Officer also known as the (CIO) is a profession often given to the most senior executive of an organization that is responsible for Information Technology (IT) enterprise goals and architecture. Usually the CIO will answer to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).As information technology becomes more significant the CIO become more of a key contributor in the formulation of the strategic enterprise goals for a business. The importance of the CIO’s job has ascended significantly as the IT field becomes an increasingly more imperative aspect of an organization. There are no specific qualifications for the CIO position, but any potential candidate will want to have some expertise in a number of different technological fields. A CIO candidate may also have post graduate education with experience both business and information technology sides of the organization and they should also possess exceptional leadership and project management skills. “Over the last decade, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) has moved center stage, but this has not always been for the right reasons. The turn of the century saw both the Y2K problem and the dot-com boom and bust, highlighting the vulnerability of organizations to both legacy technologies as well as the enviable hype that has always accompanied new information technology (IT). IT projects are continually dogged by high failure rates. Infrastructure complexity has affected the agility of many organizations to respond to changes in the competitive environment” (CIO1). The CIO is tasked with the responsibility of analyzing and making modifications to present organizational processes, with classifying and developing the capabilities of innovative tools, and restructuring the enterprise's information technology based infrastructure and network access, and with recognizing and utilizing the enterprise's knowledge resources. Numerous CIOs lead their enterprise's efforts to assimilate IT with the worldwide internet. “Today, CIOs are frequently associated with a organizations’ s C-level executive team and undertake many dominant roles in addition to overseeing the IT function, such as managing the firm’s information resources, offering vision for the role of IT in the firm, promoting IT as an agent of business change, redesigning firm strategy, and ultimately creating business value” (CIO2).The CIO is distinctly known as the organizations highest level IT executive, even if the term CIO may not always be used. 60 percent of the heads of IT carry the CIO title, while other titles include director of IT (18 percent), vice president of IT (11 percent), and chief technology officer (CTO) (4 percent). There are also other titles emerging that eliminate the terms technology or information, such as vice president of services. Even still the CIO title is the most widely accepted for the firm’s top IT executive. The responsibilities of the CIO inside the organizations is evolving and managing information technology strategically must to be entirely incorporated with the organization and also should be viewed in a similar operations, manner human resources, finances, and the other foremost functions of the company. More than any other time before now organizations depends on information technology to aid them with maximizing their worth, making their services more effective, more advantageous, more receptive and more accessible. In the new world of technology empowered transformation, CIOs play an progressively important part in keeping an organization’s data center up and running and at one point that was all but that is good enough. The CIO’s faces a new challenge of assisting other leaders to see what’s possible then driving that apparition of transformation through an organization where bureaucracy and culture can make it very difficult to change. CIOs are put into an organization to handle ten of the biggest IT challenges of the organization and then highlight the capabilities required to deal with them. The first issue that the CIO is responsible for is money or budget issues. Most agencies think that they don’t have enough money to tackle all of the IT projects they really want to, but the real problem is how the money they have is being used. Since IT spending has risen rapidly and one point organizations had plenty of funds but uncoordinated efforts have led to distended technology infrastructures, excessive systems and applications, misaligned resources, and enormous IT support staffs. The CIOs job in this case is to now focus on the stuff that really matters by deciding which investments are truly worth pursuing and eliminating all costly distractions, providing the best possible service and making sure technology projects achieve the organization’s goals on time and under budget. IT security and risk is another aspect of the organization that the CIO is tasked with. When it comes to IT development, everybody wants everything as fast and as cheap as possible, but in today’s increasingly complex world security should be the top priority and fast and cheap is not always the best way to go and find a balance between the amount of time and money spent and having the proper security for your infrastructure. In today’s society you could compare IT procurement to a high-stakes poker game with its enormous budgets, influential vendors, and complex systems, but for many agencies their existing procurement process are far more excruciating and time-consuming than they should be and they rarely produce the desired result. The procurement processes that are used today are too rigid, and other times it’s too loose, generating an endless stream of change orders and prolonged delays. Integration and interoperability is key to an organization’s growth, but still many companies are notorious for their bureaucracy with information technology. This causes stove pipes mentality and leads to countless pockets of detached and redundant systems and processes which becomes confusing for people and business to navigate. With the increase in the importance in cooperation across agencies and organizations in both the private and government sectors it is critical for interoperability to be at its best to prevent major disaster. For example if there is an attack it will require an immediate and coordinated response from dozens of public and private organizations working together and these kind of responses are impossible without a flawless electronic system that enables instantaneous communication between organizations. IT governance becomes increasingly more important as technology is advancing at a mind boggling pace. Every IT organization has thousands of dire technology initiatives; all moving forward at the same time and the only way to bring all of these projects together safely is with an applicable governance model. The model should include a clear-cut process for making decisions, an effective organization structure, and clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The perfect governance structure should have a balance between self-sufficiency and control. It gives people the freedom they need to do their job and at the same time it needs to ensure their activities align with the organizations overall goals. Budget officials are worried they aren’t getting adequate returns on IT investments; this is because many organizations can only measure progress by reporting the amount of money they’ve spent on solving the problem. This leads to another important role for the CIO which is to develop and track IT performance measures. Recent studies have shown that most people within an organization don’t even know what to measure, or how to go about it. Others have developed performance measures but aren’t sure what to do with the results. A good performance measurement system allows an agency to empirically evaluate the success or failure of its IT investments. It also should also drive project teams to deliver better and timelier results. One of the major tests for a CIO is deciding how to allocate limited resources. Every single budget has its boundaries, and there is never enough money to go around so the CIO is left with the question how do you decide what to do? The first that needs consideration is strategic alignment the organizations overall mission and goals? Next is does the project achieve those goals in the most efficient way possible, or is there a better way to produce the same result? To answer these questions portfolio management is essential IT project management because projects should not be observed in segregation. Currently there is too much dependence on other aspects of a business and portfolio management accepts the interactions between individual investments and uses those connections and dependencies to arrange projects and put them in the appropriate categorization which should maximize earnings and minimize risk. CIOs currently have to face, lack of expertise, high turnover, retirement of key IT staff and budget cuts. How do you deliver tomorrow’s technical capabilities using the people you have today, and how do you entice new talent to fill in the openings? Many agencies rely too heavily on their employees and their desire to serve overlooking important factors like compensation and work environment which leaves the CIO with the task of finding ways for their organization to make themselves more attractive. In the new and more competitive world of information technology, given that a system that meets the minutest necessities are no longer enough. Information technology divisions must pull their weight by finding new ways to generate value for the business, basically treating users as customers and delivering a superior IT experience or product. Last and definitely one of the more important reasons for having a CIO is maintaining the enterprise’s architecture. One difficulty with IT architecture is that nobody really seems to know what it really is or even how it’s used. The enterprise IT architecture is a high-level blueprint that shows how different business processes and IT parts fit together. The CIO is responsible for establishing maintaining the architecture or creating on if one does not already exist. “The architecture should include: a map of systems and the interfaces that connect them, a map of systems to business processes, comprehensive data model, showing how data is defined and organized, roadmap showing how the IT architecture will evolve over time, and standards for technology platforms and tools” (CIO6). The enterprise architecture when done correctly should help guarantee that all of the miscellaneous fragments fit together now, and for the future. It generates configuration between processes, infrastructure, data, and systems. It establishes a standard platform and tools to get new systems up and running quickly. Last is it should be scalable and flexible to adapt to your organization’s needs. CIOs have the daunting task of helping convert their organizations through informational technology. This transformation involves getting rid of all of your old traditions, acquiring new ways to do business, and accepting drastically different approaches to serving components. To meet that challenges set by the industry and the organization CIOs need new capabilities and new tools that will help organization generate more value for themselves and their components. The CIO’s position is an extremely challenging position and it takes a unique individual with a variety of different skills and education, and should exude confidence at all times. When the question is asked can you justify merging this title into a new executive position or an existing executive position? I would have to say no, although the Chief Information Officer is not the title used by everyone who shares similar responsibilities to those listed above I honestly think the title fits perfect simply because information is epicenter of all of the CIOs responsibilities and this justifies have he or she in your organizations. This leads me to the second part of the question could this position be merged into another executive position? Again I would have to say no simply because of there are so many different things that the CIO does and it take such a variety of skill sets that even if you were to break the responsibilities up among currently existing executive position there would still be several responsibilities that would not fall in any bucket and again would justify creating a new position for some to take them on. The establishment of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) position proposes that senior management officially recognize that information is a valuable resource and must be managed at a senior level of the organization. This executive officer in charge of information processing in an organization along with all system designs, developments and operations fall under CIO authority. CIOs have arduous jobs as information technology in an organization is often taken for granted until something breaks down. The role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a comparatively new one and it is progressing and there has been some issues surrounding the role. So it is extremely significant to the CIO and senior level management establishes an understanding and agreement regarding role expectations. This will add to a more in-depth understanding of the role of the CIO and how it is evolving in numerous frameworks. Organizations are today essentially reliant on IT systems and very little could endure for extended amounts of time without them, however all the indications point to the fact that organizations are still scuffle with IT systems and just reiterates the importance of the Chief Information Officer position…...

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