CIOs are called upon for an increasingly varied set of skills. The diverse capabilities CIOs need fall into four general categories–strategist, catalyst, technologist, and operator.

Four Primary CIO Functions

The Operator

Position description:

  • work with the organization and executive team to deliver reliable, high-performance IT systems and infrastructure.
  • identify costs and productivity improvements, develop security frameworks for IT assets
  • increase IT process maturity, improve integration

Key responsibilities:

  • Create IT-enabled business capabilities
  • Provide detailed IT service costs for effective cost management in delivering IT services
  • Create service-level agreements (SLAs) with business areas and operating-level agreements between IT functions and vendors to ensure SLAs are met
  • Create and maintain continual improvement programs and projects
  • Execute an enterprise-wide IT security program and capabilities to ensure all IT assets are protected
  • Establish and maintain effective governance for IT controls
  • Manage technology obsolescence and vendor risks

The Strategist

Position description:

  • Work with IT and a seasoned executive to develop or enhance business partnerships to improve technology-enabled capabilities
  • improve value of IT investment portfolio
  • Drive long-term view of technology investments

Key responsibilities:

  • Establish an ongoing IT strategy development process
  • Review and align IT strategy with business leaders
  • Periodically share vision and updates on how IT can create value for organization
  • Establish and operate a project portfolio management and budget management process that deploys, tracks, and adjusts program and project resources
  • Creat and operate a joint business/IT governance process to prioritize and approve IT investments
  • Establish ongoing communication process to share updates on IT financial performance and value delivered to the organization
  • develop a strategy to fully utilize existing information to create maximum impact for business and customers

The Technologist

Position description:

  • Optimize the organization’s use of technology
  • Evaluate technologies and design technical architectures to manage complexity and improve business processes

Key responsibilities:

  • Create or enhance technical architectures
  • Standardize diverse technology platforms
  • Explore technologies to support innovation
  • Identify and analyze new technologies, such as cloud and AI
  • Establish the organization’s technical vision
  • Develop IT strategies to improve business process efficiency

The Catalyst

Position description:

  • Define a clear, IT-enabled transformation vision and manage complex change programs while continuing to deliver reliable IT services

Key responsibilities:

  • Create a vision and objectives for IT-enabled capabilities that support innovation for the organization
  • Establish a joint organization/IT process to deliver innovations supporting the innovation strategy
  • Create objectives for the transformation of IT processes, capabilities, and operating model in support of the transformation vision
  • Develop and maintain strong relationships with senior business leaders to gain active support for transformation agenda

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