The role of the CIO, CEO in achieving the 4th industrial revolution

By Sithabile Gandi Ndlovu | 28 Apr 2019 at 10:53hrs
4th industrial revolution
A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is a job tittle that is given to the person in an organisation that is in charge of the information technology strategy and computer systems required to support an enterprise's objectives and goals.

The responsibilities of the CIO in an organisation are vast. They are directly responsible for the alignment of information technology and business needs. With the evolution of technology and businesses the role of the CIO has also evolved encompassing market research with artificial intelligence, service analysis, data security, internet of things and digital disruption being at the forefront as an influencer of consumer products. It is the role of the CIO to create business value through technology as well as strategically plan the growth objectives of the business.

The strategic planning, software development management and information technology architecture fall under the jurisdiction of the CIO together with the development of information system policies, strategies, standards and ensuring that technology systems and procedures that lead to out comes in line with business goals through the strategic planning of business growth objectives.

It is the role of the CIO to ensure that customer services platforms are developed, networking is done and also builds relationships and handles all vendor negotiations on behalf of the organisation. Information technology and development and team personnel management are the responsibility of the CIO and so is business and financial acumen, this describes the ability that a person has to be intuitive and understanding of how a company makes money it's critical effective strategy execution. The CIO's role also includes being responsible for information risk management, explains the policies, procedures and technology one adopts in order to reduce the threats, vulnerabilities and consequences that could arise if data is not protected.

With technology becoming a core competence, the role of the CIO is becoming more and more key in organisations. CIOs are a bridge conveying technology related information and knowledge between the different departments of the company. It is also the duty of the CIO to propose the required technology, they will plan for said technology, implement it and support all organisational personnel with adequate training and transition support. The CIO is responsible for operation of overall information technology and computer systems and report to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The CEO, is the top executive responsible for an organisation's overall performance and operations. They lead the organisation and serve as the main link between the board and various parts of the firm. The CEO decides on the strategies, technologies and chooses the risks to be taken and those to be avoided. The roles of the CEO although not limited to this list alone include:

- Formulating the company's mission and strategy these are plans that describe the basic organisational function in society in terms of products and services for customers. The strategy is the boundaries in which the organisation operates around.

- Clear communication of the mission and strategy to employees ensuring that everyone is on the same chapter and page of the same book.

- Controlling of the direction the organisation, making sure that it structured appropriately, ensuring effective internal controls and management information systems are in place.

- Decides the budget for all departments and has the role of ensuring that expenditure risks are within the authorised annual budget for the organisation.

- Oversees the appointment of staff members and has the responsibility to ensure that there is enough staff, they also have the authority to terminate staff members as they see fit.

- Ensuring that the organisation adheres to corporate social responsibility, in accordance with state, business and social rules and regulations.

The most important of the roles of the CEO for any organisation is to act, and make decisions that are in the best interest of the organisation at all times.

The relationship between the CIO and the CEO is critical for the success of the business. A good relationship between the two executives can result in the alignment of information technology strategy and business strategy to achieve cooperate goals. Employees also become more productive as they are made to realise the important of leveraging technology to improve business processes and realise return on investment.

Successful CEOs in the 21st century business environment understand the contribution information technology makes in the business, so as to become tech savvy leaders. The CIO helps the CEO to improve their understanding of technology and they can both work together to come up with strategies that inspire employees to leverage technology. The CIO plays a huge role in the communication of the strategic importance of technology to the CEO ensuring that the IT department is allocated the funding it needs. The CEO will usually take up the lead in the implementation and definition of the organisational strategy but the CIO will have to be involved in the making of the strategic decisions so a good relationship between the two almost ensures success, or rather increases the chances of it.

A strong relationship between the CEO and the CIO breaks the division that usually exists in organisations between information technology and business. Rather than an operational centre the IT department becomes what it intended to be, that being an integral part of the business. The CIO must have the courage to offer, and effectively communicate differing views to the CEO and when there is a good relationship this can be easily done. Establishing a good rapport between the CEO and the CIO is important especially considering that technology most of the time is hard to understand and the CIO may have to explain some things several times.



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