CIOs Find New Roles, New Directions

Meet the Hybrid CIO: Well-Paid, powerful, often in charge of more than just technology and, almost as often, a migrant into IT from other areas of the company.

26% of CIOs spent half their career in IT and half outside of IT
55% say contributing to corporate strategy is one of their three top responsibilities
34% of CIOs manage another corporate function while running IT
16% spend most of their time dealing with emergencies
55% report to the chairman, CEO or president of their company
To download the survey results, click here.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first time the phrase "chief information officer" was used in IT.
Right from the start, people understood just how difficult the position was: It requires executives to be both outstanding technology managers and fully functional business leaders.

The occasion was the 1980 Information Management Exposition and Conference, and the speaker was William Synott, then senior vice president of the First National Bank of Boston.

Synott said: "The manager of information systems in the 1980s has to be Superman—retaining his technology cape, but doffing the technical suit for a business suit and becoming one of the chief executives of the firm.

The job of chief information officer (CIO)—equal in rank to chief executive and chief financial officers—does not exist today, but the CIO will identify, collect, and manage information as a resource, set corporate information policy and affect all office and distributed systems."

Ever since Synotts speech, the debate has raged over how, and even whether, CIOs can wear both a business suit and a technology cape. Theres no better source of insight into what being a CIO demands than the CIOs themselves.

This years study uncovers an important shift in CIO priorities.

In recent years, cutting costs has been among the top priorities for CIOs. But today, other concerns—notably improving business processes, the IT infrastructure and architecture, and security—rank higher.

Business process improvement and integration, along with security, are also listed as top priorities in two other recent studies.

Why are these issues so critical now? Because architecture, integrated infrastructure and business processes support the kind of growth companies seek today.

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