Chapter 6. The Chief Information Officer


Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything, either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.

 --General Colin Powell, Chairman (Ret.), Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Secretary of State[1]

This chapter highlights the importance of the chief information officer (CIO) in building and managing the effective IT department. Topics include scope of the role of the CIO, impact of the position on the productivity and capability of the IT department, skills and experience found in the most effective CIOs, and how those managers allocate their time. For IT department staff members, the chapter outlines the skills needed for promotion to CIO. The chapter also contains advice for senior managers seeking to hire or promote a new CIO, and explores how CIOs can go astray and become disconnected from the business imperatives, as well as how to use effectively the IT steering committee to substitute or augment the CIO.

Why This Topic Is Important

We have found that the quality of the individual in the role of CIO has the single largest impact on the overall effectiveness of the IT department. Whether that role is called the CIO, the vice president of information systems, or simply the IT director, this person is usually responsible for one of the largest operations in a corporation in terms of costs ...

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