The Traditional CEO/CIO Relationship And it’s Positive Impact
With the increase in the technological demand in the organizations and the generation of competitive advantage, the CFO and the CIO are the key people in the organizations who cannot be avoided. The relationship between CIO and the CEO in past are often filled with confusion, miscommunications, and misunderstanding which is a reason for many unnecessary stresses among them. But it is necessary that both CIO and CEO understand that they need to work together so that the productivity of the organization will increase, the ROI of the technology will also increase and the strategies will be more initiative which in turn will help the organizations to reach their goals.
The traditional CEO use to focus more on the business units and always take advice from the CFO, CMO or Sales director to increase the business and the CIO in the team was basically there to take order than to take decision on anything and he/she could only implement the strategies that where passed to them by other heads in the organization who had no knowledge or mere knowledge about the IT Department and thus it was hard on CIO’s part to help organization in the path of success. CFO was given priority status in the organization. In the past they have seen IT and CIO as the cost-centric of the company who would be delivering IT and controlling the expense. (5qpartners) (VentureBeat(2018))
The relationship of the CEO- CIO was quite different now, it has changed a lot as the CEO-CIO do not have a boss and employee relationship but they are more than a business partner in the company who need to walk hand in hand with each other to get the business to success. This has brought great positivity to the company as most of the companies rely on the IT technologies nowadays and it is mandatory that the CIO takes the charge.
According to Gartner, to have a successful lead digital transformation the CIOs of the company must help their organizations move beyond digital experimentation and pilots and start bringing digital best practices to scale. They need to work more closely with the CEO and other senior leaders. They should not typically sit in the back office but need to show how the things would be delivered, what will be delivered and provide a balance in the efficiency and effectiveness. The CEO of the new era does not see IT as the only cost centric in the company but also as the source of innovation and the field that would enable the growth of the revenue of the company. (VentureBeat(2018))
Previously the CIO were confined to their department and CEO use to see the IT team and the CIO as the support system only. For them, the business was always about people, cash and the customers. (Brans, P. (2016)) Even the CIO job in the company was not appreciated much and would leads to ir-rationalization in the company.
The CEO has realized that CIO needs to be a dominant part of the organization and its business strategy. It is important now that the CIO understand their duties and even understand the business and take the risk for the advancement of the company’s growth among the competitors, as the IT field has grown to a great extent with technology advancement and is a challenging one i.e. cybersecurity. As the change is happening from the traditional, the CIO should think differently on how they would work and what kind of employees they want. Presently, CEO judge their CIO capabilities by the way they handle a situation or how they set the goals for taking further the business. (VentureBeat(2018))
CIOs serves as the critical link between business strategy and the IT agenda but also helps in identify and applying new technologies to the business. They are the balance for any organization who balances organization with inspiration by providing a new shape in the organization and potentially transform the business and managing complexity, and risk in business. To be a leader, they need to be capable of managing the employees based on their skills and they need to focus very less on the technology and focus more on business strategies. CIO need to recognize that for any organization is important to deliver core IT services and provide the customers with reliability and efficiency. (Kark, K. & Vanderslice, P. (2015))
CIO serves as the linker between the different team member and the CEO and also linking the technologies or IT services and provide the solution to the security of the IT services. Companies are now understanding that due to the emerging technologies they need to transform the IT and the marketing standards to emerging new technologies and providing with what customer needs. The team under the CIO needs to bring new ideas and under the customer needs in depth. (Kark, K. & Vanderslice, P. (2015))
For every problem in the company, the CEO needs the help and guidance of the CIO to bring data into the boardroom, uniting disparate divisions behind transformative initiatives to push the company forward. As the new technologies are emerging it would be difficult for the CIO to communicate with the CEO or vice versa as the CEO is unaware of the language and the importance of the points that the CIO has made. CIO tries to make CEO comfortable by not using technical jargons with the CEO and talk in the business terms with them so that it would be easier for both of them. IT has changed a lot from the past even as it is no longer just the risk but also to grow the technology that would improve the lives of the people under them and provide them with benefits.
CIO have to manage between both CEO and the employees under the CIO. It can be observed in Barton’s case how he used to handle the problems with his team and then share the answer with the CEO. CIO is the middle person between both the IT team and CEO. It is necessary for the CIO to understand that the CEO does not have any knowledge of IT and it is useless to bring on the IT problem in front of the CEO but bring the solution to the problem with it. In the case of the textbook,” The adventures of an IT leader”, Jim used to tell every problem but later he understood that he has to bring the solution to the CEO and not only the problem. Most of the companies are repositioning the CIO as the biggest business and the IT partner of the CEO. (Shah, S. (2016)) (Austin,R.D., Nolan,R.L., & O’Donnell, S. (2016))
The CIO and CEO relationship are where CIO have a business alliance to the CEO which helps them to enjoy the blind trust on each other. The CIO of has a real impact on the business. Some of the organization have CEO would are always down the line and never reach the road and then they raise their game when they need peer status among the employees. (Jha, S. (2015))
According to Gartner, the expectation so the CEO still has the measurable gap between the CIO and CEO expectations and it could not be changed. Both the CEO and CIO should spend to understand the motivations, thought about going further with the project. A strong relationship is required such that there are no barriers among both. That can be done by the by the CIO as the attitude of the CIO towards the IT can change the CEO attitudes. The gap can be narrowed so that the CEO can gain personal success. (Lee, P.(2010))
Poor communication can be remedied quickly and this will be a cure for the CIO’s inferiority complex and would change the way CEO’s look towards IT and would take effort. With this, the CEOs of the company have become more tech savvy but the CEO do not really on the CIO expertise but they even take expert advice from outside. Which makes the CIO as not an important part in the company and thus many of the companies feel that the CEO of the company should be knowledgeable in all the fields or they should have trust on the CIO or should discuss among them about any issue. Most of the CIO try to gain better knowledge about the new technology and how they can grow their business with these technologies.(Southgate, D. (2002))
The CEO has started viewing the IT’s capability as the senior-most business leader as they believe that the IT is needed for the service delivery rather than taking more consideration on improving the management they need to bring the basic IT services in to order. The CIO has been treated as the business leader rather than the leader of the IT and given the position to choose, own team. (Curran, C., (2010)) The CIO has been given the responsibility to take challenges and bring new ideas and the CEO supports them in the finances. ( Ray, L.)
At present the CIO and CEO are collaborating and the CEOs only goal from the CIO is that they understand the business and what are the need of these deliver for the business and well they can be implemented. The CIO needs to keep in mind what users’ needs and what they get, rather than what CIO or CEO thinks they want. The CEO accepts that the CIO sees the future vision rather than just the present scenarios. This collaboration of CEO and CIO would bring great success to the organization. (Melymuka, K.,(2002))
The positive impact of the change in the CIO and CEO relationship has led CIO to think like the CEO. Sometimes the CIO may have innovative ideas for upgrading the company’s data tracking abilities, but without sound financial intelligence about the company’s ability to pay for the new systems, the ideas may be impractical. The CIO has the reasonability to learn all aspects of the business to earn a seat at the executive conference table. The CEO understand the CIO and way they work and mostly as the CIO are not good in technology they need solutions rather than the question which helps the CIO to advance their relationship with their CEO by advising them about what would be beneficial for the organization. The CEO needs to manage many things such as the conflicts among the higher management, prioritizing any investments and making a market strategy.
The CEO needs the CIO beside it side and mostly in the board meeting, the CEO takes CIO with them as no one can better answer about the IT factors to the board representative than the CIO. And the CIO with other higher management team should communicate and answer to the questions and should support the CEO. The CEO has freed up some of the resources under them such that if the CIO ask for the investment and the CEO would take time to answer whether they should invest or not, but till the time the CEO takes the decision and reply the lead would be lost. So, the CEO has tried to let the CIO take the decision on its own. (Sacolick, I., (2018))
The CEO support the CIO by bringing the CIO’s Ideas on board and ensuring that his/her way of work should be supported and understood. The CEO invest on some of the best ideas of the CIO but there should be no communications gap as it leads to mishandling of the situations and the CIO communicate with the CEO in the business terms and avoid the use of Jargons.
Nowadays the CIO is represented as the most responsible for the company’s results. The CIO identifies the trends based on the inside and outside of the company which would help in defining new initiatives and finding any risks or problems that could occur in the information systems. The CIO even help the non-IT managers to get new technological tools that would help them to ease their work and thus the CIO needs to collaborate with other departments to select the new technology. (Millman, R., (2016))
The role of the CIO has changed a lot and they are becoming more critical for the organizations. As the technology has become the necessity of the business the CIO brings new drives of technology leadership to the organization. The role of the CIO has increased and they have moved closer to the CEO. The technological conversation has been replaced with the business conversations and has brought the advancement in the business. (Avova,(2017))
The CIO has started exhibits most of the traits that the CEO has by identifying the opportunities of the technology which was the strategic weapon in solving the problems in the business. According to book, “The Adventures of an IT leader”, Barton the CIO of the company at the end get the offer from the CEO of the IVK, Williams who feels that Barton has traits of business, IT and can become a CEO of the company and it would help the organization more as the CEO of the company has the trait of the CIO and the managerial skills of the CEO. The companies are wanting to have more skills from the CEO as the business is increasing and they think that they need a person with more technological and digital aspects, the companies with more customer base, generally appoint a CIO as the CEO of the company as they understand the speed at which the technology and the innovations are changing and CIO understand the value and the importance of the IT decisions. (PageExecutive). (Austin, R.D., Nolan, R.L., & O’Donnell, S. (2016))
The CIO is the strategic thinker and they are responsible for the company’s long-term value and relationship. As the technology is increased, there is no doubt about the CIO would be the future CEO as It is the function. The CIO even adds value to the CFO as they have knowledge about how companies can have higher revenue. (Hartung,A. (2015))
The traditional CIO and CEO relationship have changed a lot and it has changed to so extent that first CIO were not given importance in the Board of Directors and where not allowed to take decisions on their own. But now the CIO has become the right hand of most of the CEO and the CEO cannot run their business without the CIO and in the future, the job of the CEO would be taken by the CIO as they have all the knowledge and skills that are needed for a CEO.
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- VentureBeat(2018),The traditional CEO-CIO relationship is changing, Viewed at:https://venturebeat.com/2018/04/21/the-traditional-ceo-cio-relationship-is-changing/
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- Avova,(2017), The CIO: Thinking like a CEO, Viewed At: https://avoa.com/2017/01/10/the-cio-thinking-like-a-ceo/
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- Hartung,A. (2015), Today’s CIO is in a great position to be a future CEO Viewed At: https://www.cio.com/article/2984744/cio-role/todays-cio-is-in-a-great-position-to-be-a-future-ceo.html