Roles regarding Strategic Planning, Disaster Recovery, & Risk Management
Chief Information Officer
The Chief Information Officer (CIO) position was officially established by the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1969. From this piece of legislation, the CIO was given its official duties and responsibilities. They include Provision/Assistance to Senior Executives on IT Acquisition and Management, Integration of a Sound IT System, Up-keeping/maintenance on present IT architecture, Input on the development of Enterprise Strategies along with specific plans regarding hiring and future employee training, Et Cetera. The image above gives a larger view of activities that a CIO would participate in. It is not an insult to assume that the range of CIO responsibilities is so wide that it would be quite challenging to expect one person to have all these skills. Having to keep precedent with the latest technologies, managing an implemented IT System, and providing decisions to senior executives is quite a handful. The Clinger-Cohen act also implies that the CIO is entitled to a staff of individuals that can together help meet the competencies, and can create a suitable office environment. Ironically the act does not mandate appropriate funds be allocated to the CIO position or to any of the activities he/she is in control of.
There is a pun made of the CIO acronym, instead of ‘Chief Information Officer,’ its ‘Career Is Over.’ In the beginning days of IT implementation, this would have certainly cracked a couple of laughs. This was often said by people who did not understand upcoming technology; back in the 50’s and 60’s was almost everyone in the general society. Communities back then didn’t believe that all these new-fangled “Computers” would catch on. Early concepts such as E-mail was thought to be “kid stuff” and irrelevant to the business world. Information Technology (IT) is the CIO’s domain. As the business world evolves, the CIO role will evolve with it. In the early times, IT had a very insignificant role in an organization thus the CIO role would follow suite. But as we have seen throughout recent history, IT has grown to become an integral part of the business world. The CIO is in the prime position to take on greater business responsibilities and control. CIO, Career Is Over? This joke has lost its luster. One would say the joke itself has evolved as well; ‘CIO? Career into Opportunities.’
What is the main task of the CIO? Back in the 1950’s it was simply to deliver competent IT operations and oversee the computer mainframe on time and most importantly on budget. By the 1970’s, the CIO was overlooking integration of systems and maintenance of expensive hardware and software. In those days if the IT system failed, daily operations could still recover and continue. The CIO was charged with recruiting and finding a way to pay highly skilled people to use technology that new to the business scene. Faulty equipment and flawed software are just a few of the problems faced in IT. It comes as no surprise as to why the CIO is seen as a “Techie” and not as a business man. Today, IT is rooted in business. If the IT system fails or even comes short of normal operation parameters, the organization suffers.
In the past decade or so the Internet has grown exponentially. With all the new electronic platforms, intranets, and user interfaces, Chief Executive Officers (CEO) could no longer ignore technology and had to use these tools to stay competitive. In the past, the CIO often reported to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). At that time, IT was seen as a cost center rather than an asset and a key competitive attribute. As we see IT growing more important in the business world, it becomes clear why more and more CIO’s today are reporting straight to the top. This is a great opportunity for CIOs; with a direct chain of...