Suggest specific roles for “the evolving CIO”

The InformationWeek articles “The Evolving CIO: Step Up – or Step Back” [1] and “The Inexorable Rise of the New CIO” [2] discuss the influence and organizational position of chief information officers (CIOs). For example, the former article cites a Society for Information Management (SIM) [3] survey and notes that “Last year, 45% of business technology executives surveyed said they report to the CEO; this year, it’s just 31%. At the same time, the percentage of CIOs reporting to the company CFO has risen, to 29% from 25%.”

Perhaps it is time (again) to suggest specifically how CIOs can earn more useful, more prominent roles by providing more valuable, more appreciated service.

  • The Role of the CIO” [4] provides 6 categories of enterprise needs, from “Enterprise Outcomes” to “Enterprise Infrastructure” and, within the categories, notes 24 specific potential enterprise needs that CIOs can address. CIOs who provide valued close-to-Outcomes services can earn prominence.

  • The role-of-the-CIO figure (below) adds a seventh category, “Enterprise Governance,” and illustrates reasoning supporting “The Role of the CIO.” I based this figure on the Direct Outcomes systems-thinking tool known as Achieve Progress. [5]

    • The first text column provides the 7 categories.

    • The second text column begins sentences (column title, plus column entries) for which each the left-most 3 columns suggests conclusions (column titles, plus column entries).

Permit me to suggest that CIOs consider reviewing the categories and potential roles, proactively working with colleagues to enhance closer-to-Outcomes service while not compromising closer-to-Infrastructure results, providing enhanced value, and earning bright futures.

Role of the CIO, by theme

The above remarks are based on perspective gained from having …

  • Led a $1 billion business unit that included a CIO.

  • Served as co-CIO for the United States federal government’s Executive Branch.

  • Served as CIO for the United States General Services Administration.

  • Served in the CIO-led organization within Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

[1] John Soat, InformationWeek, November 19, 2007, pages 34-43.

[2] Bob Evans, InformationWeek, November 19, 2007, pages 42-43.


[4] The Role of the CIO


Click for information about Thomas J. Buckholtz.


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