Featuring CIO: Roles, Skills and Soft Skills

Featuring CIO: Roles, Skills and Soft Skills

Carmen Cano, Luis Fernández-Sanz, Sanjay Misra
DOI: 10.4018/jhcitp.2013010103
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This paper describes how the CIO (Chief Information Officer) position appears as a key role in the organizations and the requirements for candidates. The authors compare the requirements presented in different studies to know what are the most important skills for a successful performance as a CIO. They stress the importance of non technical skills as key factors for professional performance. The authors have compared soft skills for CIO or equivalent positions and other professional profiles like programmers or analysts using data taken from thousands of job ads. An overview of the most valuable skills (especially soft skills) for CIOS is presented.
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Introducing The Position Of Cio

The CIO position began to be mentioned in literature in 1980 (Synnott & Gruber, 1981) as a response to the dissatisfaction of CEOs with the results and the productivity of information technology (IT) in the organization as well as to their intention of using information as an strategic asset (Penrod, Dolence, & Douglas, 1990). Since then, organizations have lived significant transformations in the role and context of IT (Smaltz, Sambamurthy, & Agarwal, 2006) so, nowadays, CIOs are playing a more active role in the development and management of the global strategy of the business. Leading organizations are seeing CIOs of today as business strategists, infrastructure developers, organizational architects and company leaders. Future competitiveness of companies depends on the fact that IT top managers have to work in the following lines of actions:

  • Sharing their knowledge to improve teamwork;

  • Supporting their own business units and/or other companies which require their services;

  • Working more systematically to align IT objectives with business strategy;

  • Improving management of customers’ needs considering the concept of demand life cycle.

Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are organizational leaders that need to carefully consider the future of their business and how to leverage technology to gain competitive advantage and add value to the organization. Ideally, the CIO reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and has a seat at the table to share in the business strategy and direction of the company. The CIO needs to be familiar with current technology and how it can be applied within the business. However, it is not a requirement that the CIO be a technical guru since the CIO spends the majority of the day speaking to other executives and managers and defining and planning IT strategies to support the organization goals.

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