What makes the CIO role special compared to other C-Suite roles?

The CIO is one of the most undervalued roles in the company. We're the only ones who see everything that's going on and need to understand it at a complete depth. Your CFO doesn't have that, your COO doesn't have that, so it's a great role to get that broad perspective and have such a broad influence. I think we don't spend enough time talking about that as a community and it's almost as though we're afraid to bring it up that we are very, very different than other C level roles. There's actually a lot more of a requirement that we do understand the business at a much greater depth than others do. Unfortunately, a lot of people are more focused on the janitorial side of the job. When you go into a meeting for a strategic discussion and they ask you to help with their PC. You sit there and you're like, "Oh gosh." I remember being in one of my first board meetings and the projector bulb went out and somebody looked at me like, "Do you know how to fix that?" "Yeah, no, I don't actually, sorry. Call the facilities guys definitely."

Anonymous Author
The CIO is one of the most undervalued roles in the company. We're the only ones who see everything that's going on and need to understand it at a complete depth. Your CFO doesn't have that, your COO doesn't have that, so it's a great role to get that broad perspective and have such a broad influence. I think we don't spend enough time talking about that as a community and it's almost as though we're afraid to bring it up that we are very, very different than other C level roles. There's actually a lot more of a requirement that we do understand the business at a much greater depth than others do. Unfortunately, a lot of people are more focused on the janitorial side of the job. When you go into a meeting for a strategic discussion and they ask you to help with their PC. You sit there and you're like, "Oh gosh." I remember being in one of my first board meetings and the projector bulb went out and somebody looked at me like, "Do you know how to fix that?" "Yeah, no, I don't actually, sorry. Call the facilities guys definitely."
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
The skillset that the CIO role has developed over time is probably more multifaceted than any other role. There is ownership of technology and enablement and motivation and drive of people to be able to execute. You have to make sure that you integrate both processes and technology across the entire company, be able to measure it, make sure it's secure. Then you have to actually articulate it and package it up so that you are able to talk to customers. With all due respect to the C-level roles, that's just not the case for them. People have now woken up to that just a little bit more. I actually think it's required for more IT leaders to understand and appreciate, not because of self-gratification but it's like, "Okay, there's a bunch of stuff I'm doing that I know is definitively harder with all due respect to some of my peers and I know I can demonstrate value probably a little bit more easily than a whole bunch of other functions." I think it has been a big part of the CIO role. It's like it's become much more prominent in terms of just what you have to execute towards. There's no shortage of stories during the pandemic where you've been able to talk about that.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
CIO are in the best position to connect the dots across all areas in the firm, which makes them quite unique.
1 upvotes
Anonymous Author
As much as it sometimes feels like the janitor man, it is the janitor with a ton of connections. Nobody would have called me to invest in an all-female SPAC if I hadn't done the CIO technology gig. For as much as there's the challenges, the opportunities in the community and the support you get from everybody in this community, it's unlike any role. There's just something so special about this group and that's what's made it so rewarding.
1 upvotes
Anonymous Author
I wrote almost a decade ago that the CIO is unique because it's the closest C-Level role to being another CEO as far as group/org design and cross functional impact. It's even true that a great CIO will spend a majority of s/he's time doing some of the same work as a CEO: 1. Speaking with customers 2. Communicating a vision for the IT organization that is a mirror with a technical perspective to what the CEO does.  3. Runs groups that have most if not all functional aspects of the company 4. Etc.
0 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Constant change is one aspect of CIO role that often gets overlooked. Business is constantly throwing new challenges, regulators constantly throwing new challenges, technology change throws up new challenges. Majority of other C-suite roles deal with some change but not to the degree that CIO has to deal with it. Comparison that comes to mind is you are white water rafting on level 4/5 class river. P.S and CIO is also often times the most scapegoated role in the org as well in case anything goes sideways (cyber breach, technology meltdown, poor ERP implementation etc. )
0 upvotes