Quickie article on the convergence / overlap / synergy of CIO, CTO, and even CFO roles by Dawn Altnam in Business2Community.
Such “double duty” is common amongst start-ups and the small / medium enterprise space — and a key reason why sourcing IT services from a data center provider is a smart move.
Remember: the ultimately goal is to create great organizational “music”; there’s no requirement to be a maestro at (or even play) every IT “instrument” in-house.
Emphasis in red added by me.
Brian Wood, VP Marketing
Are There Benefits to Being a Hybrid CIO?
The job of a good CIO is to oversee and develop the IT strategy for a particular business or organization. While that may have been the extent of the job description in the past, many CIOs today are pulling double or even triple duty in a variety of different positions. It’s not uncommon to see a CIO who also acts as a CTO, COO or even a CFO. This is a phenomenon that’s occurring naturally for a wide variety of different interesting and significant reasons. A CIO who performs the work of multiple positions is also commonly referred to as a CIO+.
Why It’s Happening
CIOs are commonly taking on more and more duties for a couple of different reasons. To start, it can be difficult to find a single person capable of understanding technology and its relationship with the survival of small and mid-sized businesses. It becomes increasingly difficult when trying to find multiple people who match the criteria well enough to fill several different positions. Because of this, a single person overseeing multiple positions is commonly better suited to steer the company in the direction it needs to flourish and succeed.
One of the main benefits associated with a CIO pulling double duty is the fact that the position naturally lends itself to being in a prime situation to see where new technology will benefit the company the most. A CIO who also serves as a CFO, for example, would be better positioned to immediately see the benefits offered by adopting a flash storage array at a particular company. As a flash storage array is a quicker and more efficient way to store and transfer large amounts of information at a particular company, a CIO+ would be able to instantly identify benefits that such a hardware implementation would yield to both the technology and the operations department within a single business.
Another added benefit is communication. When the technology and operations department are acting under a unified leadership, developments in one department can quickly affect and benefit another thanks to a much smaller chain of command. Instead of needing the approval of a few separate people to implement a change at a company level, departments would only need the approval of a single person. Additionally, technology solutions can be applied to operational issues quickly and easily without the need for a lot of communication between the two departments thanks to a singular leadership.
The results of having a CIO who is also a CTO, COO or even CFO are largely positive. Because one person is overseeing multiple departments, certain redundancies and drains on a company’s resources become clear much faster than they would under separate leadership. Solutions can be not only developed faster, but implemented faster as well. All of this will help lead to a more unified and productive environment.
While CIOs performing the work of multiple positions has its benefits, it’s important to note that it may not be a strategy that all companies can implement. Larger companies with several hundred or even thousands of employees, for example, may be too much for a single person to handle. Those companies would need to hire individual people for the CIO, CTO, COO and similar positions for the best possible results.