Council Initiatives | Choosing the Right CIO

This handbook was created at the request of Executive Council CIOs to address the disconnect between what business leaders think they want from the CIO function and what they actually need based on the current ‘state-of-play’ within their organisation. It is designed to help non-IT leaders understand what they need from the CIO function and structure the role accordingly to ensure an ongoing, realistic, results driven partnership is achieved.

The Premise

The CIO role is made up of 3 CIO archetypes, specifically;

  1. Operational/Functional (Business relationship: Service provider)
  2. Transformational (Business relationship: Partner)
  3. Business Strategist (Business relationship: Peer)

At any given time a CIO is required to spend a percentage of their time working across each of the 3 archetypes. However, the key for smart organisations is to understand what their business really needs from the CIO function currently and in the future, and structure the role, and set expectations accordingly.

Structure of the Handbook

This handbook contains 4 components that, when combined, help you correctly identify the key expectations and associated competencies you need to be looking for when hiring a new CIO – or developing the incumbent, in order to ensure you meet your business goals both now and in the future.

Download the full introduction and outline of the handbook

Matrix | Choosing the Right IT Executive for your Business

This matrix illustrates the 3 CIO archetypes with corresponding key indicators which reflect the health of your current IT environment. The matrix is cumulative, meaning the operational level and associated key indicators, are built upon by the transformational then the business strategist levels.

This aligns with the assessment tool in part 1 of the handbook and when combined provides you with an outline of short-mid-and-long-term actions to help define the CIO's focus areas based on what your business needs. The matrix also provides you with guidelines for skills and experience to include in your CIO job specification.

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Assessment Tool | Determining the Right IT Executive for your Business

This is an Excel-based assessment tool that asks 12 simply worded, business-focused questions. When answered they provide your organisation with an accurate snap-shot of what you need from the CIO function currently and in the future based on your existing IT environment and your on-going business goals.

The answers you provide are formulated to reflect in percentage terms the mix of time you need your CIO to be spending working in each of the 3 archetypes (e.g. 60% operational, 30% transformational, 10% business strategist). You may think you need a transformational CIO but the reality of your current business requirements, as reflected via your answers, might indicate a different story. Remember, you can’t drive IT-enabled business transformation if you don’t currently have the operational foundations in place to support that change. It is about matching your expectations to your current business reality and not setting your CIO up to fail.

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