Introduction – What is a CIO and what does the role entail


A Chief Information Officer or CIO for short is an executive officer responsible for the management, implementation and usability of information and computer technologies (I.T) within an organization.

Because of the rapidly developing I.T sector and technologies used in business, the role of the CIO has dramatically increased in popularity and importance. The CIO analyses how different technologies might benefit a company or help to improve the existing business process and workflow.

Work conducted by a CIO

The technical tasks overseen by a CIO has adapted over time with rise of technologies like Cloud computing and traditionally comprised of technical tasks like managing internal databases, computers and networking.

These days however a CIO include the roles above and more such as:

  • Ensure you have a long term plan for your I.T infrastructure
    Devise an IT budget to make sure your core infrastructure meets the needs of the organisation at present and into the future over time
  • Ensure that your organization runs effectively with minimal downtime
  • Handle big-data analytics
  • Integrate new software/services
  • Document setup and other internal processes
  • Co-ordinate upgrades, repairs and migrations
  • Plan for the future and look for new opportunities and systems

Confusion with other roles

The term CIO is often confused with other technical roles in companies such as the CTO (Chief Technical Officer) and CDO (Chief Digital Officer) the latter been focused on technology outside the business mostly consumer-facing such as products or services. The CIO however  is only concerned with internal technologies in a business environment and how to best leverage them now and into the future.

What is a virtual CIO service?

A virtual CIO service is an I.T provider external to a business whereby I.T processes are outsourced to a company specialsing in the different tasks mentioned above.

Virtual CIO’s are common in small to medium enterprise businesses who may not be able to afford or simply don’t require an internal I.T consultant to be working for them full time therefore outsourcing the role of the CIO can be beneficial.


Thank you for reading this glossary entry on our website, to see other technical definitions check out our tech glossary for more informational resources.

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