What are the day-to-day activities and pain points of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) at a mid- market sized company ($100M-$1B)?

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What are the day-to-day activities and pain points of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) at a mid- market sized company ($100M-$1B)?

The Chief Information Officer, or CIO, is the most senior technology executive in a company and is responsible for planning and executing the technology strategy for the company. As such, they are often the link between IT and technology departments with the rest of the organization. Less day-to-day focused, they are concerned with strategy.

Due to the emergence and rapid adoption of new technologies, CIOs have a difficult job and there are many parts to their jobs that are considered ‘pain points’. This has been named the 'toughest corporate job in America' at the current time.

General Roles

As stated above, the general role of the CIO is to link technology and information with the business aspects of the company. The CIO is responsible for setting the technology strategy of a company and ensuring that this matches with the company’s goals. It is their job to understand the business requirements and maintain infrastructure and a team appropriate to them.

Leading from this, information risk management and information security are generally also under the CIO’s purview. They are responsible for directing security standards, procedures, and policies. They are also responsible for the IT architecture and often vendor negotiations along with this, as well as IT budgets and technology futures to forecast key trends.

A CIO in a manufacturing company is little different from the position described above. They must oversee the infrastructure and system architecture, as well as design and implementation. It is also their job to enforce and write procedure, while also identifying potentially useful technologies and integrating these. A manufacturing CIO must still align the technology with the management’s goal and plan to ensure business goals can be achieved with the appropriate infrastructure.

Difficulties and ‘Pain Points’

As a large part of the company’s infrastructure falls under the scope of the CIO, there are many concerns that someone in the position may have. The push towards a digital transformation and digitization is strong, something that the CIO would have to plan and implement. However, the first and foremost concern of most CIOs is security.

As the CIO is in charge of the technology, they must consider hacking attempts against their systems. 76% of CIOs ranked security as their biggest risk and concern. Data breaches can be a death-blow for businesses, on average costing $4 million USD. 70% of companies are unsure if they could recover from a successful cyber-attack and security is lax in most companies. Internal training for security practices is essential, but rarely done, and is cause for concern in CIOs.

CIOs are also expected to innovate and integrate new technologies into the company. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has been quick and is expected to grow far more. It can be a boon to companies, increasing productivity by large amounts, but it falls to the CIO to understand, adopt, and integrate this technology to where it will be most useful. This is exacerbated by the general lack of resources given to technology departments. Despite their generally crucial role in business operations, IT departments are often understaffed, out-of-date, and do not have a sufficient budget. The CIO is often expected to get more done with fewer resources.

Leading on from this is that the role of the big data in business. There are few industries that it cannot help and companies that embrace it will see huge productivity boosts. CIOs will be expected to integrate this and enable this data to be used, all while experiencing the shortage of necessary skills and low budgets that may stunt the innovation and adoption of these technologies.

Conclusion

CIOs are responsible for directing the overall technological strategy in a company, as well as ensuring that the infrastructure is suitable and able to meet the business’s goals and those set by management. They have many duties in relation to the design, implementation, and running of these systems but also have many concerns. Security is the greatest, with large losses possible for the company if their systems are breached and data stolen. Other concerns are the digitization of the company and adoption of recent technology, such as AI. These problems may be exacerbated due to low budget, few staff members, and lack of the appropriate and needed skill sets.

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