A CIO or Chief Information Officer is the person that oversees the use of information technology and aligns the information technology of an organization with the strategic business goals (OBrien & Marakas, 2011). In addition, it is the highest IT executive position in an organization that exhibits managerial roles and requires communication with the CEO (Gottschalk, 2007). The role of the CIO has changed over the years. The CIO has moved from back-office operations, IT, and administrative duties to being part of the board of directors and is a key individual to apply information technology at a strategic level (Gottschalk, 2007).
Advantages of having a CIO
With a CIO, the company has more chances to succeed by aligning information technology with the business goals in order to get a strategic advantage (Gottschalk, 2007). As the CIO is the one in charge of the overall IT, he is the one responsible for making the IT infrastructure evolve in order to change and grow the business operations of the organization (Stenzel, 2007). One of the biggest advantages of having a CIO is that this position is about researching and analyzing new trends that could benefit the organization. As stated by Thaddeus Arroyo, the CEO of AT&T Mexico, “The modern CIO will help the company drive innovation, create valuable new services, and drive business growth” (Muller, 2015).
John Marcante, the CIO for Vanguard, said that his job is about using technology for top-line growth (Heller, 2016). His team built a big data environment because in order to become a data-driven company before the competition (Heller, 2016). That investment led them to a large number of use cases using data analytics in the organization (Heller, 2016).
Another advantage of having a CIO is that this position serves as a link between business and IT functions (McCubbrey, 2014). This is helpful since executives don’t understand technical issues and need someone with experience with technology and business (McCubbrey, 2014).
Disadvantages of having a CIO
Some organizations don’t need a CIO in order to run smoothly so it becomes a bad investment based on the salary that needs to be paid to the CIO. According to PayScale, the average salary for a CIO is $150,000 (Reaburn, 2019) and not many companies could afford somebody that they don’t actually need. In addition, having a CIO adds an extra layer of complexity to the communication between the IT department and the CEO or president. Finally, if the company is small or medium size and does not depend solely on technology, it just brings disadvantages because the position is not necessary or redundant because the CEO, owner, or president can communicate directly with the IT department. Nevertheless, if your company is large and can afford a CIO, you will see more alignment between the IT and the business by having a person that is accountable for information technology in the organization.
OBrien, J. A., & Marakas, G. M. (2011). Management information systems. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
Gottschalk, P. (2007). Cio and corporate strategic management: changing role of Cio to Ceo. Hershey PA: Idea Group Pub.
Stenzel, J. (2007). Cio best practices: enabling strategic value with information technology. John Wiley.
Heller, M. (2016). Be the business: CIOs in the new era of It. Brookline, MA: Bibliomotion, Inc.
Muller, H. (2015). The big shift in It leadership how great CIOs leverage the power of technology for strategic business growth in the customer-centric economy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Maccubbrey, D. J. (2014). The Cio Handbook. Zurich, Switzerland: The Global Text.
Reaburn, C. (2019, August 27). CIO Career Path: Responsibilities, Skills, Salary, and More!: Nextiva. Retrieved November 13, 2019, from https://www.nextiva.com/blog/cio-career-path.html.