What is a CIO?

A CIO, or Chief Information Officer, is the head of information technology within an organization.

As technology becomes more vital to a company's success, demand is on the rise for forward-thinking CIOs who can convey business ideas and needs, then find and put into place cutting-edge technology solutions to fill them.

What does a CIO do?

CIOs have become key contributors in developing strategic goals, and are seen as 'business visionaries'. They often report directly to the CEO (Chief Executive Officer), and sit on executive teams.

A CIO, or Chief Information Officer speaking to employees about information technology within their organization.

In addition to being tech savvy, a successful CIO needs to manage effectively, and have excellent leadership and communication skills. CIOs help shape organizational strategy by recognizing how significant information technology is to a business, and by educating employees and executive management on its value and well as its risk.

In large organizations, CIOs will delegate some of the day-to-day operations and rely on tech specialists to manage specific areas. Central to a CIO's success is interpersonal communication skills such as relationship building, negotiation, presentation, verbal and written communication, and team development.

The following are some skills and duties of a CIO:
- Evaluate the risks of using new technologies and computer systems
- Enforce short-term and long-term information technology strategies
- Negotiate contracts with service vendors to cut costs
- Collaborate with corporate heads to shape interdepartmental tech policies
- Enforce short-term and long-term computer and information systems budgets
- Keep current with emerging technology trends

CIOs grasp and quickly respond to a number of market forces in order to figure out how technology can generate business value. These market changes have forced CIOs to re-think the role technology plays in nearly every aspect of business.

These include:
- disruptive technology
- cloud-based technology
- vendor product offerings
- mobile-first computing
- big data analytics
- social collaboration platforms
- customer base across physical and virtual channels

CIOs work alongside a business and look for the next opportunity to use technology to create a new product or service. They look at every side of the business, from employee productivity to operational efficiency to customer service and business goals.

Are you suited to be a CIO?

CIOs have distinct personalities. They tend to be enterprising individuals, which means they’re adventurous, ambitious, assertive, extroverted, energetic, enthusiastic, confident, and optimistic. They are dominant, persuasive, and motivational. Some of them are also artistic, meaning they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive.

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What is the workplace of a CIO like?

CIOs work in nearly every industry. They work for both large and small businesses, ranging from one-person businesses to firms with thousands of employees.

CIOs are also known as:
Chief Information Officer