CIOs Start To Become More Important

Companies are starting to realize the value of their CIOs
Companies are starting to realize the value of their CIOs
Image Credit: las – initially

The importance of a CIO can be measured in a number of different ways. One such way is how often the CEO seeks out the CIO for consultation. In the not so distant past, this is something that would happen rarely. Generally, this would only happen if something had gone wrong such as a service outage or a security breech. However, this is now starting to change. The people with the CEO job are starting to realize that software has become central to the business and this means that they need to form a much close relationship with their CIO.

Why Are Things Changing For CIOs

There was a time when CIOs were struggling to get respect. Sure, companies knew that they needed a CIO, but they didn’t really value the position. Back in the day it was increasingly common for CIOs to be asked to report to the CFO so that they wouldn’t bother or distract the CEO. In some companies this may have made sense because of the large IT budget that the IT department was in charge of spending; however, for most companies it simply meant that the CIO rarely ever talked with the CEO.

All of this is starting to change now. A recent study revealed that 53% of CIOs report directly to the CEO – this number had been 46% just a few years ago. What CEOs are slowly starting to realize is that their relationship with their CIOs is going to be key to the competitiveness of their business. The reason that CEOs are now seeking to have a deeper relationship with their CIOs is because the CEO knows more about the importance of information technology. What all of this means is that now everyone wants more from their CIO.

What everyone is starting to realize is that at more and more companies, software is at the heart of a lot of new business models. What we are seeing is that the person in the CIO position is becoming very involved in setting and executing corporate strategy. In a lot of firms, spending on IT projects and staff may be the company’s single biggest outlay. This has resulted in CEOs starting to take a more active role in deciding things like financial allocations, priorities, and staffing for the IT department.

What Is Going To Be Expected From CIOs Going Forward?

One of the reasons that the company is starting to rely more and more on their CIOs is that they had the realization that IT runs through just about every project that the company is working on. No matter if it is related to the supply chain, consumer loyalty, or changes that they are making to their stores, IT plays a key role.

What this means for a CIO is that you need to expect to be spending more of your time working with the other C-level executives. This time is going to take away from the time that you spend with the other member of your IT team. CIOs are now going to be expected to remain current on such topics as business trends as well as technology. For any given project, there is the possibility that it may end up touching all of the company’s IT infrastructure.

What this all means for CIOs is that they need to expect to be interacting with the CEO more often. This can take the form of text, email, and phone. More importantly, they will probably meet face-to-face also. A key reason for all of this interaction with the CEO is because IT is often responsible for spearheading new projects and new products. IT is becoming more involved in company efforts to retain customers and enter new markets.

What All Of This Means For You

There was a time that CIOs were simply seen as yet one more necessary employee. They performed an important job, but CEOs were busy and they didn’t have a lot of time to be bothered talking with their CIOs. As companies have become more and more dependent on the software that runs them, the role of the CIO has grown in importance and now CEOs and CIOs are spending more and more time together.

CEOs are starting to become aware of the importance of software in their company. This means that they now appreciate how important the CIO has become. As IT budgets have grown larger and larger, in many firms the IT budget is one of the company’s biggest expenses. Additionally, we are seeing is that CIOs are becoming very involved in setting and executing corporate strategy. Since IT is a part of every project that the company is currently undertaking, the CIO has become involved in every project. This means that CIOs are going to be spending more time with other C-level executives. Additionally, the CEO will probably also be requesting more and more of the CIO’s time.

Becoming an important part of the team that is running the company is a two-edged sword. Yes, it is good to be appreciated and it may even make it easier for you to get the funding that your IT department needs. However, because of your new-found importance your time is going to be requested by more and more people. In order to be a successful CIO, you are going to have make sure that you can manage your time so that you are able to get everything that you need to get done, done.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that CIOs need to limit the amount of time that they spend with the CEO?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

General Electric (GE) is one big company. They employ over 310,000 people and so any changes that they make to how they choose to manage those people is obviously big news. The people who run GE understand the importance of information technology and have decided that they want to transform how their company operates in order to remain successful in an ever changing marketplace. What this means is that they have decided to make some big changes to how they are going to go about evaluating their employees. If GE is changing, then should he person with the CIO job also be changing?

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