Business & Finance
Commentary
7/23/2004
06:12 PM
Stephanie Stahl
Stephanie Stahl
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Editor's Note: What Does A CIO Do? Ask Me Later.

Twenty-five years ago, when InformationWeek was just getting started (we were called Information Systems News back then), the job responsibilities of a CIO (and the title itself) were barely defined. Everyone knew what the CEO did and what the CFO was responsible for, but what the heck did a CIO do? Even today, as information technology has become the foundation of business innovation, some might say the title is just as hard to define now as it was then. That's because the role changes as business changes, as the economy changes, as collaboration with partners changes, as emphasis on customers changes. Defining the role isn't just hard in business. Take a look at what the federal government is dealing with at informationweek.com/998/cios.htm.

But one thing about the role is clear. It's far more strategic today than ever before. CIOs are less involved in day-to-day operations and technology implementation and more involved in business strategy, revenue generation, business-process management, and customer relations. One CIO recently described the position as a "master politician" responsible for negotiating and bringing businesspeople together. Another described the role as crossing over into what chief operating officers are known to do.

According to a new CIO study by our sister brand Optimize, most CIOs report directly to the CEO, with some reporting to the CFO or the chief operating officer (a detailed report will be available on op timizemag.com in the coming weeks). But a good piece of advice I heard from one long-time CIO: "You can't just work for your boss. You have to make all of the line-of-business managers happy. Let them know you're working for them. Understand that you're getting paid for linking them."

Stephanie Stahl
Editor-in-chief
sstahl@cmp.com


To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Stephanie Stahl's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Stephanie Stahl, please visit her page on the Listening Post.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
IT's Reputation: What the Data Says
InformationWeek's IT Perception Survey seeks to quantify how IT thinks it's doing versus how the business really views IT's performance in delivering services - and, more important, powering innovation. Our results suggest IT leaders should worry less about whether they're getting enough resources and more about the relationships they have with business unit peers.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.