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CIO’s Daily Responsibility

One could attribute many virtues to the title and role of CIO. He or she is a: digital innovator, business leader, IT strategist, talent master, or tech guru. Whatever appraisal we give to this esteemed and sought after position, nothing quite describes it like the everyday tasks it was created to address. Pearl Zhu identifies three essential everyday CIO responsibilities.

A. Channeling Strategy

The CIO is a “strategic planner and communicator” who is given resources from the enterprise and channels those resources into improvements and the maintenance of digital assets. Their role as manager and educator unlocks the potential of IT staff and propagates the business mission to its technology ranks.

B. Protecting and Guiding Policy

To the extent that the CIO is a propagator of business strategy, they must keep one ear to the door of the C-Suite at all times. This isn’t to say that the power and control always flows in a top-down direction. As a nexus between corporate and IT worlds, the CIO must sometimes influence top decision makers in the interests of IT. As a locus of information, the CIO also has the privilege and responsibility of looking after sensitive information and mitigating risk where necessary.

C. Tapping Positive Change

A CIO is not just someone who maintains IT functions and sustains relationships and practices at multiple levels of the organization. They are also advancers of digital innovation who must place their fingers on the pulse of change outside of the organizational context. 

4 Tactics

To manage their various responsibilities, CIOs tend to rely on four tactics: (1) Engaging with the business helps the CIO stay up to date on organizational change, (2) reviewing projects and operations, which gives them quick insight on “key people, finance, operational and project deliverables,” (3) making time to stay connected and up to date with the people and tools essential to the operation’s success, and (4) keeping the door (literally and figuratively) open to comment, question, and collaboration.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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