What is CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER? What does CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER mean?



What is CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER? What does CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER mean? CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER meaning – CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER definition – CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER explanation.

Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.

Chief information officer (CIO), chief digital information officer (CDIO) or information technology (IT) director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals. Generally, the CIO reports to the chief executive officer, chief operating officer or chief financial officer. In military organizations, they report to the commanding officer. The Chief Information Officer role was first defined in 1981 by William R. Synnott, former Senior Vice President of the Bank of Boston, and William H. Gruber, former professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

CIOs or CDIOs form a key part of any business that utilizes technology and data. In recent times, it has been identified that an understanding of just business or just IT is not sufficient. CIOs are needed for the management of IT resources as well as the “planning of ICT including policy and practice development, planning, budgeting, resourcing and training”. In addition to this, CIOs are becoming increasingly important in calculating how to increase profits via the use of ICT frameworks, as well as the vital role of reducing expenditure and limiting damage by setting up controls and planning for possible disasters. Computer Weekly magazine highlights that “53% of IT leaders report a shortage of people with high-level personal skills” in the workplace. In this way, CIOs are needed to decrease the gulf between roles carried out by both IT professionals and non-IT professionals in businesses in order to set up effective and working relationships.

The Chief Information Officer of an organization is responsible for a number of roles. First and most importantly, the CIO must fulfill the role of business leader. As a CIO must make executive decisions regarding things such as the purchase of IT equipment from suppliers or the creation of new systems, they are therefore responsible for leading and directing the workforce of their specific organization. In addition, the CIO is ‘required to have strong organizational skills’. This is particularly relevant for a Chief Information Officer of an organization who must balance roles in order to gain a competitive advantage and keep the best interests of the organization’s employees. CIOs also have the responsibility of recruiting, so it is important that they take on the best employees to complete the jobs the company needs fulfilling.

In addition, CIOs are directly required to map out both the ICT strategy and ICT policy of an organization. The ICT strategy covers future proofing, procurement, and the external and internal standards laid out by an organization. Similarly, the CIO must write up the ICT policy, detailing how ICT is utilized and applied. Both are needed for the protection of the organization in the short and long term and the process of strategizing for the future. Paul Burfitt, former CIO of AstraZeneca, also outlines the CIO’s role of IT governance, which he refers to as the “clarifying” of “accountability and the role of committees”.

As the CIO has a large number of responsibilities such as provision of finance, recruitment of professionals and development of policy and strategy, the risks are consequently vast. The CIO of U.S company Target was forced into resignation in 2014 after the theft of 40 million credit card details and 70 million customer details by hackers. CIOs carry out a large number of roles and therefore the chance of failure is very high. In this way, any CIO must be knowledgeable about the industry so they can adapt and reduce the chance of error.

Information technology and its systems have become so important that the CIO has come to be viewed in many organizations as a key contributor in formulating strategic goals for an organization. The prominence of the CIO position has greatly risen as information, and the information technology that drives it, has become an increasingly important part of the modern organization.

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