Thought provoking post by Mr Subbu Iyer – most CIOs think they’re supposed to simply manage IT, or only a bit of strategy, or drive one strong line of business (say websites either as development or as a platform like an ecommerce org), or something very ‘niche’ like that…
How unfortunate! They are the ones that truly hold the reigns of power within an organization and can give tremendous, effective direction and guidance to it’s future.
The CEO is almost always busy with growing the external capabilities/extent aspect of the organization. There may be other aspects to this – like laying a business directive, overseeing organizational health/culture, identifying the key areas of business and communicating that clearly to the organization, and so on – I wouldnt know – but simply put they’re not hands on with the information flow.
The COO is tasked with maintaining productivity and ensuring operational work gets done.
The CTO builds the technology base for the organization to operate from, and may also do the CIO’s job in a smaller organization.
The CIO needs to I = innovate, I = invent, I = INFORMATION!! This is the key to everything happening within the organization! Information and the flow of information are what gives a company the ability to be dynamic, proactive, know it’s place in the world and know where it can grow in that space. Without this key information an organization is paralyzed.
I was just discussing with someone about it this morning today – as a CIO, we need to know the organization inside-out, and just as a CEO (my take: E=external) focuses on the outside of the organization, the other C-level executives are tasked with looking ‘inwards’. Most importantly the CIO (my take: I=internal).
As the owner and key stakeholder of all information flow and technology linked to that information, the best person to transform and evolve the processes in an organization is the CIO!
Again in various organizations other positions may not exist – for example a CIO may be expected to fulfill the function of an IT director as well, or in a smaller organization it may just be a CTO (no CIO present). Unless an innovative and evolutionary insight is taken I fear most people in this CIO/CTO ambiguity may simply end up as IT managers, that cannot lead their organization anywhere.