This role is sometimes used interchangeably with the role of the chief technology officer (CTO), although they may be quite different.
In some organizations there will only be one person responsible for both functions, but where they are separate, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) will be responsible for practices and processes supporting information flow, while the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) will typically be responsible for technology infrastructure.
Due to the importance of IT and it’s centrality in the Information age we live in, the CIO is considered a key contributor to formulating and achieving strategic goals in an organization and therefore the process of selecting and hiring the most suitable individual is so important.
The usual criteria when selecting any senior executive would typically apply to this position also, and would thus require the selected individual to have good people skills, leadership abilities, problem solving and planning skills. As an executive they would need to be able to operate well in a team and to be a self starter.
Being part of the strategic management team, growth management skills are essential, which would enable him/her to anticipate, plan and position the organization for growth and being in the ever and fast changing field of information technology, it would also require of an individual to stay well informed of the latest trends and developments in the field.
Having some project management skills would also be beneficial.
Apart from the abovementioned general qualities, the following technical core competencies are a must for a Chief Information Officer (CIO):
1. Business management skills and experience
The individual should have the ability to assess the businesses needs, to do strategic planning, to develop a technology vision supporting the needs of the company, budgeting, presentations and to prioritize technology initiatives
2. Organizational development skills
The individual should be able to define the organization that is required in order to accomplish business objectives, to manage staff and keep them focussed in order to achieve objectives and to participate in training programs to fill gaps in expertise and also to build in depth know how.
3. Staff development and motivation competencies
The individual should be able to develop his staff members and to keep them motivated. This could include doing regular reviews.
4. Infrastructure knowledge
This would include knowledge about hardware, networks, telecommunication, data centre operations, network applications, support desk, systems security as well as disaster and systems recovery.
5. Knowledge about business applications
This would include knowledge about the industry and the business, programming change management process, backlog management and communication, software applications and software release processes.
Additional tools to assist in hiring a CIO based on Core Competencies
1. The IT Manager Skills Matrix is a FREE MDE Product Sample by the IT Manager Institute. The skills matrix helps you discover what is needed for the following roles:
- Technical Infrastructure Manager
- Business Applications Manager
Get the IT Manager Skills Matrix.
2. What to look for in a CIO ebook
Get the eBook – What to look for in a CIO