What Is A Chief Information Officer? (With Responsibilities)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies rely on information technology (IT) professionals to oversee their technology and information systems' needs. Depending on the size and structure of the organisation, this may involve different types of professionals. Learning about the specific responsibilities of certain professionals may help you decide if it is a career that you want to pursue. In this article, we explain what a chief information officer is, list common responsibilities of this job, discuss skills for this career and review requirements to pursue this job.

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What Is A Chief Information Officer?

A chief information officer (CIO) is an IT professional and an executive within an organisation who is responsible for its computer and information technologies. They evaluate existing systems and technologies to identify what works well and areas for improvement. Based on this, they make decisions about technology that aim to improve efficiency throughout the organisation. Depending on the organisation and its structure, they may also be the manager responsible for all IT professionals.

Related: What Is The Difference Between A CTO Vs CIO? (With FAQ)

Responsibilities Of A CIO

Here are some common responsibilities of a CIO that you may include on your resume when pursuing this job:

Develop business value

A CIO uses technology to increase the value of their organisation. By exploring new ways to implement technology, they may discover opportunities to use technology in new ways or learn about new systems available. These technological changes may streamline business practices and improve efficiency, which may ultimately allow employees to explore other activities with their time. For example, implementing a new ticket request system may allow customer service agents to focus more on helping customers and building relationships than simply sorting their requests.

Manage the technology budget

The CIO creates, approves and manages the organisation's budget for technology and related projects. This may require collaborating with other executives or financial professionals within the organisation to understand what finances are available. It is ultimately the CIO's responsibility to research technology options and delegate spending accordingly based on what works best for the organisation. For example, they may research options for a new payroll software, compare prices and features and choose which one to use.

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Establish technology best practices

The organisation's CIO is typically responsible for creating its IT policies and best practices. This may include such concerns as employee expectations for technology usage at work, what processes to use for certain tasks or requirements for troubleshooting. The CIO may collaborate with other executives when creating these guidelines, and they are often responsible for ensuring all employees learn about and understand them.

Maintain relationships with vendors

It is important for CIOs to develop good relationships with their organisation's technology vendors. Having strong relationships with their various technology vendors and suppliers may help them learn about new advancements before their competitors, potentially creating a competitive advantage. This relationship management also helps create and maintain a good reputation for the organisation.

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Manage IT team

While it varies based on the organisation and its specific structure, the CIO often oversees the IT department. They may also be responsible for managing the development team too. As the manager, the CIO may delegate tasks, monitor employee work habits, provide professional guidance, answer questions and ensure the team meets all goals as necessary.

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Align technology with business goals

The CIO explores ways for the organisation to use technology systems and processes to best achieve its goals. This involves researching potential systems or products to use and assessing how well they support the organisation's operations. It is essential for the CIO to only select technology that supports the organisation's overall business goals. As such, it is also important for them to audit the technology consistently to identify potential areas of improvement.

Oversee information risk management

CIOs are responsible for information risk management (IRM). This includes procedures, policies, systems and technology that the organisation uses to prevent threats to private information, such as data. Proper IRM helps reduce the potential vulnerabilities and subsequent consequences of IT attacks. Examples of threats that CIOs prepare their organisation against include supply chain hacks, data breaches, ransomware and denial of service attacks.

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Assist with customer experience development

The CIO often oversees developing new platforms that improve the customer experience. This may include new internal customer service platforms that allow the organisation to better serve the customers or a number of external programs or features that create a more positive user experience. This emphasis on customer experience is increasingly important, especially as more people are starting to prefer using digital-first products or services.

Plan business objectives

CIOs participate in strategic planning for business growth objectives. They may provide insight into how technology can help the organisation meet its goals or the opportunities it may create. They may also answer questions about how existing technology supports these objectives and how it can continue to help the organisation succeed.

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Follow technology trends

It is important for CIOs to keep up to date with the latest trends and changes in IT. This often involves reading industry reports and studies about technological advancements, and some CIOs may also listen to podcasts, attend conferences or read other news. Keeping current with the latest news in the industry helps guide CIOs and their decision-making, especially when looking for ways to ensure their organisation remains competitive.

CIO Skills

Here are some important skills for a CIO to have:


Leadership skills include the skills necessary to manage a team. It is essential for a CIO to have excellent leadership skills so they can manage the other IT professionals effectively. These skills may also help them inspire their team and motivate them to achieve a common goal.

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Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills enable you to work with others, understand them and build relationships with them. CIOs often manage other IT professionals, and they work frequently with other executives to develop plans that support the best interests of the company overall. It is crucial for a CIO to have good interpersonal skills so they collaborate effectively and form good relationships with colleagues and vendors alike.

Change management

Change management refers to a systematic approach to handling changes within an organisation. CIOs are responsible for guiding organisations through changes related to technology. It is important for them to understand how to explain the changes and prepare everyone within the organisation properly to prevent issues during the process.

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Communication skills include the written and verbal skills necessary to share, receive and process information. Excellent verbal communication skills support CIOs in explaining complex technical concepts easily and understanding requests for help with technical issues. Written skills are important for creating formal IT policies and procedures.

Project management

Project management relates to the ability to plan and organise complex projects. It is important for CIOs to have experience with setting and managing deadlines, delegating tasks and motivating employees to complete their tasks. This ensures the team completes their projects on time and allows people to complete tasks that best align with their experience.

Requirements To Become A CIO

Pursuing a career as a CIO requires at least an undergraduate degree in a field like computer science, information technology, software engineering or information systems. Most organisations also require CIOs to have a relevant master's degree, such as one in business, cybersecurity or technology management. It is also important for candidates to have some experience working in IT before applying for this senior-level role. Candidates may also benefit from earning an IT certification, which allows them to develop existing skills and demonstrate their expertise.

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