The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for the management of information within a company, including the information technology (IT) and computer systems necessary to support an organization.
Twenty years ago the CIO’s role role was more hardware focused, and primarily concerned with mainframe access and transitioning to a client-server architecture. Then, technology exploded, evolved, and started doing things that nobody could have imagined. Companies became technological giants, creating complex networks and thriving on the increased availability of information. Being able to manage new internal technologies and information became critical to an organization’s success or failure. Instead of simply facilitating, they became the heart of enterprise operations. The responsibility to manage was delegated to the CIO, making the role as important as ever.
Here are four important ways that CIO’s can influence a company:
1. Drive Innovation
Thousands of new software programs are created each year and new technology is released that could give companies an edge over their competition. Or the solution could be a waste of money and a bad investment. Nobody is more involved with the company embracing new technology than the CIO. Leaders in the position are able to effectively evaluate which technology is necessary for success. Time has proved one thing for certain in this aspect: Being stagnant is not an option for successful companies. Fear of embracing new technology will keep enterprises from realizing their full potential.
2. Improve Efficiency
Business thrives on these two characteristics: Time is money, and when systems run smoothly, there is more of both. A company with its IT systems down is like a fisherman whose net is tangled. It’s a headache to fix and opportunities are missed while doing it. The CIO has the responsibility to find systems that are highly reliable and cost efficient. For example, Office 365 is an excellent cloud email platform, but does not have the most reliable archiving capabilities. Lack of these capabilities can cause the server to bog down, or result in loss of critical information that could come back to bite you if litigation were to arise. Pairing office 365 with a 3rd party archiving solution (such as Retain!) creates an excellent and efficient email platform with archiving capabilities.
3. Develop a company IT strategy
The CIO, working closely with other executives, has the power to mold the company’s IT strategy. This strategy, in short, is a plan to develop and sustain competitive advantage. No two companies are the same, and all seek to compete in different aspects. IT strategy should follow closely the company’s business model. For example, a company that creates small products and competes on a price basis should invest in technology that will allow them to create their products cost-effectively and efficiently. A great investment for a financial company would be software that mitigates risk. Companies who pride themselves in high quality products and great customer service might want to invest in products that facilitate communications with the customers. (read more here)
4. Share vision with other company leaders
The CIO’s ability to carry out IT projects depends on the support that comes from other leaders in the company. If the CEO and CFO don’t share the CIO’s vision, there won’t be funding to carry out that vision. For this reason, the CIO must help other leaders in the company understand how improving IT systems and operations will help them and the company in the long run. With leaders on board, they will be able to motivate employees to trust the new systems. The company-wide support will create the necessary environment to continue improving operations, drive the IT strategy, and create a competitive edge.
Our line of work is to provide quality products that help CIOs and other IT leaders improve operations in their companies, and become more profitable as a whole. As mentioned earlier, today’s focus in technology has moved from hardware and the facilitation of operations to, now, software that can completely change the way things are done – and create a competitive advantage.