A Brief Guide to the Roles and Responsibilities for a CIO

A Brief Guide to the Roles and Responsibilities for a CIO

Chief information officer (CIO) is a job title that refers to the highest senior technology executive position in an organization. They’re the leaders in charge of overseeing a company’s IT strategy and they make sure that it aligns with corporate goals.

What Does a CIO Do?

Contrary to popular belief, a CIO doesn’t just focus on technical projects. Given the major role that technology plays in businesses nowadays, the roles of a CIO have become equally far-reaching to the extent that they’re often considered key contributors to the business’s overall goals. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s also a job that gets more complicated as companies become more technology-oriented and rely on IT for their day-to-day operations.

There isn't really an official job description for a CIO, since it can take on various forms. Although both terms are often used interchangeably, “CIO” and “IT Director” aren’t necessarily the same. In fact, many CIOs avoid the operational responsibilities of an IT department to focus on recognizing the best technology that aligns with the company’s goals. To that end, their priorities are to improve business performance by selecting the right technology and building a long-term strategy that complements corporate growth objectives.

Why Do You Need a CIO?

A CIO is a highly specialized executive job title, but there’s no need to understand the specifics. What’s more important is knowing the ways your business can benefit from having a CIO. If you’re finding yourself baffled by the technical jargon, consider the way modern business technology works.

Information technology isn’t getting any easier. In fact, it’s getting exponentially more complicated as new devices and systems enter the market every year. Just a decade ago, companies only had to worry about their in-house networks and server systems; but now, they need to think about mobile and cloud technology, too. Factor in things like internet-connected smart devices, artificial intelligence, and ubiquitous internet and computing, and things get even more complicated. As such, enterprise technology has become a veritable minefield of confusion that the uninitiated cannot possibly hope to navigate.

The changing technology landscape can potentially bring many benefits to the modern business. On the other hand, it can also be extremely disruptive and leave you in a much worse situation than you were in before. With a CIO on your side, however, you’ll be better equipped to enjoy the benefits of modern technology and avoid the disruptions. That’s because a CIO is tasked with responsibilities like service analysis, market reach, and data security. They’ll have the leadership skills and expertise your company needs to select and implement the right technology in a constantly evolving environment.

What Skills Should a CIO Have?

Although CIOs tend to have less direct involvement in handling technology in your organization, they still need to be thoroughly proficient in identifying and understanding all the complexities of enterprise IT. Another important factor is leadership – CIOs should be able to direct staff members in how to best use solutions recommended for the business.

Unsurprisingly, organizational skills are also very important since a CIO must be adept at strategic planning. Finally, great communication skills are a must too. A CIO doesn’t just choose the most suitable technology for your business, but also makes sure it’s implemented in a way that aligns with business goals.

The Benefits of Having a Virtual IT Department

Hiring a full-time CIO costs upwards of $150,000 per year, an expense that a lot of smaller businesses can’t afford. Yet, many SMBs don’t even need to have a dedicated in-house IT department, IT director, and CIO.

An outsourced, virtual IT department is just what you need. By tapping into the same level of expertise offered by a permanently employed, in-house CIO, you can take advantage of the strategic planning and management that previously only large businesses could afford.

Dyrand Systems helps organizations get more out of technology by make game-changing decisions that drive growth, reduce costs, and enhance productivity and reliability. Talk with one of our experts today to find out more.


Nicholas Drayer

Nicholas Drayer

Managing Director