3 Ways a CIO Aligns IT and Business Strategies

Sam Bloedow
CIO and related words on screen CIO

In large and small organizations, there must 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 Chief Information Officer (CIO) still includes oversight of the business’ IT, but instead of being limited to day-to-day operations and improvements needed to support that, he is primarily concerned with IT and business strategy alignment, helping the business be better.

Read: IT Strategy Quick Start Guide

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 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 their role, they 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 ask how IT performing. The CIO gathers data to answer that question and to gain insight into what changes might be needed for short or long-term improvement.

Reports include information about the capacity and efficiency of hardware; availability of applications; help desk requests and their topics; and more. Performance data also measures progress on initiatives directed towards establishing the infrastructure to provide 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 IT. 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.

The CIO drafts an IT roadmap that puts feet into the strategy by establishing timelines and budgets. The strategy and evaluation of progress should be revisited in depth quarterly and reviewed monthly to ensure 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 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 guide IT strategy effectively.

That’s where the fractional CIO comes in. The fractional CIO is an outsourced CIO that brings IT strategy consulting expertise without adding another full-time executive salary to the payroll.

Managed IT Services and Fractional CIO Capability

Thriveon offers businesses a whole IT department for a fixed monthly fee, which includes an experienced fractional CIO. Through our proven process, we create and implement IT services focused on business goals so that companies can leverage IT to improve their businesses.

Aligning IT with business goals isn't something that every IT services company offers. Schedule a meeting with us and explore what this might look like for your company.

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