The Changing Role of CIOs

Author: Bala Govender
Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, Jazz Semiconductor
Gone are the days when the CIOs were generally responsible for processes and practices supporting the flow of information. Today, the role of a CIO is fundamentally changed and he plays a key role in setting the strategy and its execution in any organization. The primary objective of today's CIOs is to infuse themselves in the business by becoming a part of the company's business, management, and leadership teams along with setting up the latest technology infrastructures required for smooth running of the organization's activities.

Well, there are quite a number of challenges, which keep a CIO awake in the night even in this era of technology revolution. Being in the era of groundbreaking technologies like virtualization and cloud computing, if you take my organization as an example, it's indeed difficult to manage about 300 servers we have in our data center. The challenge was how we can leverage the existing infrastructure to the maximum. How this can help the business to grow? However, virtualization proved to be a real boon, by reducing the expenditure to manage this infrastructure. I believe that deployment of technology is driven by the business requirements, and novel technologies can help you grow your business only when there is a genuine need. It need not be deployed for the sake of it.

A CIO brings unique value to the table by facilitating the company execute the activity without any hitch. Nowadays in a hi-tech company, usually the CTO and the CIO work in collaboration to set the technology road map for the organization. Plus, to understand the needs of the customer a CIO closely works with the sales team as well. Hence, changed role of today's CIO is to integrate the thoughts of CTO, CIO, the sales team, and the company's financial plans from this perspective, so that whatever innovative technology deployments truly makes business sense in terms of customer requirements, the company's internal resources, and in terms of the share holders' or investors' interests to achieve the goal of the organization. Today's CIO must juggle with all these.

Hence, today the role of a CIO is transformed into a technology solution provider. A successful CIO will communicate in simple terms how technology can promote the business.
I believe that there is no need for a CIO just to administer or to facilitate technology deployments of the organization. Even a proficient IT manager is sufficient for that purpose or even one can outsource all the technology related works to a low cost destination.

When my CEO approached me to come and join this company few years back, I insisted that as a CIO I must be a part of all decision-making and strategy setting processes of the company. Today I have the responsibility and the accountability to reengineer all the business processes across the company. And I prefer a person who knows more about the business than technology. That's why in my IT department I have people who understand the business part of the whole activity the company does than just technological and programming skills. According to me that's a positive part and this always worked in favor of the company's growth. A CIO should touch the core of the business to transform it technologically.

Undoubtedly, technology can be the major differentiator against competition in coming times. But leveraging the technology to gain the competitive advantage is the key thing. For instance, fundamentally, how can a CIO reduce the cycle time to convey the information related to the business to his colleagues situated across the globe to achieve their objectives? That's where the technology plays the role and this is the area where a 'Chief Information Officer' should start to focus on.
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Reader's comments(5)
1: LOL, Bala is talking the role of CEO ? Shame on him.. He is no more CEO or a just even a manager... He know what he did for his pervious assignments and screwup the organization because of his stupid ideas. Good people left the great organization and stupids become leaders.. every one know if a stupid runs the organization what happens. Some more good stupids will join the org and terminate the business.

First he should know what type of attire he need to put on his dressing as a CIO, if you look him he even don't look as a CEO, he look as a Big ASS Hole... Dress man, you need to see his color of picking and the bottoms man.. like girls he has all embroidery on the wallets.. Shame to be a CEO organization, who made him a CEO.

Seems he it self presenting he is a CEO...

Have FUN Mr.CEO.. ( Cheap Effortless Officer )...

Posted by: Moiz MD - Wednesday 11th, April 2012
2: From: Mrs. Mary David

This mail may be a surprise to you because you did not give me the permission to do so and neither do you know me but before I tell you about myself I want you to please forgive me for sending this mail without your permission. I am writing this letter in confidence believing that if it is the will of God for you to help me and my family, God almighty will bless and reward you abundantly. I need an honest and trust worthy person like you to entrust this huge transfer project unto.

My name is Mrs. Mary David, The Branch Manager of a Financial Institution. I am a Ghanaian married with 3 kids. I am writing to solicit your assistance in the transfer of US$7,500,000.00 Dollars. This fund is the excess of what my branch in which I am the manager made as profit last year (i.e. 2010 financial year). I have already submitted an annual report for that year to my head office in Accra-Ghana as I have watched with keen interest as they will never know of this excess. I have since, placed this amount of US$7,500,000.00 Dollars on an Escrow Coded account without a beneficiary (Anonymous) to avoid trace.

As an officer of the bank, I cannot be directly connected to this money thus I am impelled to request for your assistance to receive this money into your bank account on my behalf. I agree that 40% of this money will be for you as a foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign account, and 60% would be for me. I do need to stress that there are practically no risk involved in this. It's going to be a bank-to-bank transfer. All I need from you is to stand as the original depositor of this fund so that the fund can be transferred to your account.

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Mrs. Mary David.
Posted by: mary lovely david - Monday 26th, September 2011
My Name is Tata I was impressed when i saw your profile at and will like you to email me back to my inbox so that i can send you my picture for you to know who i am.i belive we can establishe a long lasting relation ship with you.In addition,i will like you to reply me through my private e mail box (
This is because i dont know the possibilities of
remainning in forum for a long time.
Thanks,waiting to hear from you soonest.
Posted by: tata tatababy os - Friday 30th, October 2009
4: I liked the author's remark about having people who understand business in the IT department. This is very rare. I have been an ERP consultant and was part of implementation in some companies. The major problem I used to find was that the folks in the IT department and the functional users (people who used the system) would have a major disconnect in understanding the business processes. Having people in the IT department who can understand the key processes such as finance, production, procurement and help troubleshoot functional and technical problems really helps in better management of the IT systems of a company.
Posted by: Vijay KKS - Thursday 30th, April 2009
5: Expect the role of CIOs to soon encompass data center energy efficiency management.
Posted by: Aakash Prasad - Saturday 18th, October 2008
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