New C-suite Roles Create More Stress for CIO

by Shweta Verma    Dec 12, 2013


The IT manager or CIO is no longer just the tech geek who purchases IT tools and technologies for your organization and helps you look after them. Today he is also expected to effectively store your data and help you draw meaningful insights from it. He has to make sure your IT systems are absolutely secure from the cyber threats. He has to help the CFO reduce infrastructure costs and improve ROIs, align with the CMO to increase sales, drive innovation for the product team and the list goes on.

Rising expectations from the IT function

“Earlier IT was just seen as a productivity tool to help us be more efficient and get things done,” explains Stephen Miles, VP - Service Assurance, Asia Pacific, CA Technologies. Now IT solutions have to be integrated more closely with business functions, he says.

Miles who has been part of the industry for more than two decades elaborates on some of the key changes that he has observed through his interactions with client organizations. He points out that the way the IT function has evolved, the CIO is under far greater pressure today.

With increased complexity in the business environment, the IT manager has to address the complex technology requirements of every business function. To add to it, the tolerance levels of people have also gone down and they expect almost instant turnaround from the IT function, says Miles.

The C-suite gets more crowded

There was a time when most business decisions were driven by the CEO or a few key people in the top management team. With increasing specialization in every function, we have a new set of experts and business heads who are active participants in boardroom discussions today.

“The proliferation of C-suite roles is an indication of the increasing strategic and operational complexity organizations face. Heightened expectations of expertise are also part of the picture,” writes HBR Blogger Terri Griffith.

The C-suite includes many new functions such as COO, CMO, CCO, CDO, CSO, and so on. Every new addition to the C-suite only adds to the confusion and chaos in the work environment, thus creating more pressure on the CIO.

“You can’t just add a new member to a team without renegotiating the roles and relationships. Members need to know who already knows what, who should know what, and how to coordinate. For instance, the person who was once the best at analytics may no longer hold that position if a Chief Data Officer is brought in,” says Griffith.

“The CIO has to now think less about managing technology and more about deploying innovative new services to support different business functions. If he thinks only about managing IT, he could be in trouble,” says Miles.

Clearly, the expectations from the CIO are rising and so is the scope of his role. While it does create additional stress in many ways, it also brings along some benefits. The CIO has more opportunities today to make an impact and move up the ladder.


Tags: CIO, COO, CMO, CCO, CDO, CSO, C-suite