As a C-level executive, the Chief Information Officer is responsible for setting the IT strategy and ensuring that this works with the broader business strategy. In many digital businesses the IT strategy will be the main element driving the business strategy. This means the CIO needs be able to understand the broader business requirements and which to prioritise through the use of technology.
Most often the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) will report to the Chief Information Officer, but this isn’t always commonplace and can be affected by other leadership roles within a business that has a Technology remit. The roles of the CIO and CTO will therefore vary by organisation size and structure. There are also other job titles in the mix such as Head of Technology, Head of ICT, IT Director, VP of Digital which may be in place of a CTO or CIO.
The Chief Information Officer is the person who leads IT, and who communicates about technology projects between IT and the business units. Ultimately they are responsible for IT delivering shareholder value.
CIOs must grasp and quickly respond to a number of market forces in order to deliver how technology can generate business value. This includes disruptive technology, cloud-based technology, vendor product offerings, mobile-first computing, big data analytics, social collaboration platforms, and a customer base conducting business across physical and virtual channels.
The CIO works alongside a business and looks for the next opportunity to use technology to create a new products or services. They look at every side of the business, from employee productivity to operational efficiency to customer service and business goals.