In organizations large and small, there needs to be someone who has oversight of technology. In the past, this person was mainly concerned with keeping everything running and had very little visibility within the company unless there was a problem. Today, the role of CIO or Chief Information Officer, still includes oversight on the business’ Information Technology (IT), but instead of being limited to day-to-day operations, and improvements needed to support that, he is primarily concerned with how IT and business strategy alignment, helping the business be better.
1. Align IT with Business Goals
To answer the question, what is a CIO, you have to start with business alignment. The foremost responsibility of a CIO is to align information and technology with business goals. This obligation embraces everything else that is included in the CIO role. Information and technology can contribute to business success when IT capability serves the whole business, not just individual departments.
The CIO is like an IT strategy consultant, working with the CEO, CFO and other executives to understand the goals. He gathers and analyzes information from different departments in order to learn about needs, recognize trends, and identify opportunities where technology can help the business be better.
2. Interpret and Communicate Performance Status
When a CIO is getting started in her role, she will first want to assess the status of the technology infrastructure and associated assets. As the IT environment incrementally changes and improves, there is still the need to regularly ask how IT is doing in terms of performance. The CIO gathers data to answer that question and to gain insight on what changes might be needed for short or long term improvement.
Reports include information about capacity and efficiency of hardware; availability of applications; help desk requests and their topics. Performance data also measures progress on initiatives that are directed towards establishing the infrastructure so that it provides a reliable, predictable framework on which the business can scale.
3. Create IT Strategy and Planning
In the role of CIO, the creation of IT strategy overlaps with the responsibility to understand business goals, and the ability to evaluate the performance of the company’s information and technology. The process includes collaboration with other business leaders to make decisions about IT investment, and prioritize initiatives so that they can build IT capability and bring value to the business at the same time.
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The CIO drafts out an IT roadmap that puts feet to the strategy by establishing time lines and budgets. The strategy and evaluation of progress should be revisited in depth quarterly, and reviewed monthly to make sure that it remains relevant to the business climate and is responsive to any change in goals.
How to fill the CIO role?
Many enterprise organizations have developed the role of CIO to be a key player in their management team. For small and even medium sized businesses, it might not be practical to add another full time executive position to the organization. It is also not reasonable to fill the CIO role with someone who might oversee IT, but doesn’t have the depth of technology and business expertise necessary to effectively guide IT strategy.
That’s where the vCIO comes in. The virtual Chief Information Officer is an outsourced CIO that brings IT strategy consulting expertise without having to add another full time executive salary to the payroll.
Managed IT Services and vCIO Capability
Thriveon offers businesses a whole IT department for a fixed monthly fee, which includes an experienced vCIO. Through our proven process we create and implement IT services that are focused on business goals, so that companies can leverage information and technology to make their businesses better.
Aligning IT with business goals isn't something that every IT services company offers. Contact us at 855-767-2571 to schedule a discovery meeting and explore what this might look like for your company.
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