The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the highest ranking IT executive in an enterprise that manages the information technology and computer system. The CIO manages the information system to help the enterprise achieve its goals. A competent CIO requires great technology knowledge, good communications skills, and broad corporate perspective. Generally, the CIO reports to chief executive officer, chief operations officer or chief financial officer. Origins of Chief Information Officer
In the 1970s, as information technology (IT) developed, it played a more and more important role in the operation of an enterprise. At that time, the CIO position emerged and later the importance of this position kept growing constantly. In the 1990s, information technology became a critical resource and the CIO became the logical choice for the chief executive officer (CEO) position. Today, most enterprises in the Global 500 have the position of CIO; it has become an important part of a big enterprise.
CIOs connect the business and the information technology. CIOs often identify and adopt new tools and new technology in the production, improvement and re-engineering of the business process, and offer new information to help decision making . All these actions give enterprises competitive advantages. Enterprises need competitive advantages to survive, so they need CIOs. Position function of CIO
CIOs are often members of the executive committee in enterprises. According to Gartner (2005), only a few CEOs considered CIOs as boardroom members. Most CEOs view their CIOs as effective operational leaders, yet only a few view them as full business leaders. There is an opportunity for CIOs to build their relationship with their CEO and other stakeholders—to increase their influence and to enhance the contribution of information systems and information technology. However, Kolbasuk (2005) reported that the perception of CIOs within organizations may be evolving. She suggested that the CIOs would finally get respect they deserved. They deserved to be involved in the board. She thought the big companies should put the information technology in a very high strategic level to set up competitive advantage through an understanding of how business processes function and may be adapted to a changing corporate environment.
In the corporate strategy area, the CIO should explore the information resource, make appropriate strategy on the development of information technology, layout enterprise organization reasonably, and assess the advantages of the enterprise organization. The management and scheme of the information resource is the most important function for the CIO, which is also the first step of organization.
In the decision process, the CIO should integrate the information flow, cash flow and merchandise flow, collaborate all the useful information internal and external to provide abundant evidence for decision maker. What’s more, the CIO should supervise and manage the e-business and information engineering.
In the reform and innovation field, the CIO should help the enterprise complete the business process re-engineering(BRP). Detailed-speaking, the CIO should rebuild the enterprise’s decision system and executive system through the Technology of Information Management, unify the standard of information encoding and business process, promote the improvement of the business environment with other administrators. At the same time, the CIO should look for the new tools, improve the network access and reshape the enterprise's physical infrastructure.
In the communications area, the CIO should offer the staff the training on information technology, look for the bottleneck of the usage of information, communicate with other administrators and subordinates and try to develop a good team on information technology. Also as a manager of people, the CIO has the responsibility of recruiting, retaining, and the financial...