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Why you need a good CIO

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

CIO, of course, usually stands for Chief Information Officer, i.e. the most senior executive in the organisation responsible for the digital management of information.

There’s an old joke in large enterprises that CIO stands for Career Is Over. The reason being that in days gone by, few CIOs were able to progress past that role. There are some notable exceptions and they tend to show that a successful CIO is not a techno-geek who sees everything through the lens of technology. An effective CIO is at heart a key business strategist.

So much of the future of business lies in the hands of CIOs, if they are able to show leadership and deliver new business models. I believe the CEOs and Board members for tomorrow should come from CIO backgrounds as they are better equipped to deliver the business value that can be achieved from digital enablement

The above quote seen on LinkedIn recently is from Ron Hooton, who was previously CIO of the NZ Defence Force before moving into CEO roles in totally different industries, a great example of the flexible range of the experienced CIO.

Unfortunately, due to the massive demand for talent of this nature, there are not enough good CIOs to go around.

So here’s our list of reasons why having a capable CIO on your team is a great idea:

1. They drive great strategy

CIOs have to have a wide range of business skills and a broad perspective on everything that goes on in an organisation. Apart from the CEO, the CIO often has the best view of the cohesive whole. There is strong evidence showing that the support that a good CIO provides to the CEO to navigate internal politics makes for better strategy.

2. They are both objective and decisive

CIOs by the nature of their work tend to be highly analytical. This means that they can weigh the benefits and downsides of any idea objectively. All too often, leaders become focused on what they want to do and confirmation bias dominates the discussion. A good CIO doesn’t get into analysis paralysis, but does bring a balanced view to decision making.

3. They are highly creative

The best CIOs are much more than they appear to be on the surface. They are drawn to digital technology in large part because they are intensely creative as well as analytical and get a lot of satisfaction from using those two skill sets to help the organisation succeed.

4. They balance pragmatism with a long term view

Any business owner knows that you sometimes have to make decisions quickly, to deal with immediate issues, and the long term view doesn’t usually count for much in those circumstances. However, when making investments in digital transformation that are going to affect the organisation for a long time, too much short-term thinking can lead to a lot of technical debt that slows down progress over time.

A good CIO is able to keep the organisation's long-term goals in mind, while being agile enough to ensure progress is made on a day to day basis.


Your business strategy is important. How will digital transformation affect your business? Having access to the right skills and experience can help transform your business. CIO Studio can provide you with access to the necessary expertise, with flexibility and as-a-service payment approach.

Ray Delany is the Founder of CIO Studio and has been doing this for a while. Why not ask for a no-obligation discussion if you're in need of a CIO?


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