CEO and CIO collaboration: a vital ingredient of success

CIOs may have to take on the role of IT teacher if their businesses are to make progress in an innovation-driven environment.

Most chief information officers (CIOs) will be feeling pretty stretched at the moment. The role is expanding rapidly as technology takes centre stage in the modern business world and the average to-do list is getting longer by the day. This kind of stretching is, however, dangerous; once employees are expected to cover too many bases, the quality of work will inevitably start to suffer.

The situation is unlikely to change unless others start to take an interest in the role of IT in their enterprises, and this has to begin with the head honchos. Too many CEOs think that tech should be left solely to the specialists, especially when their businesses aren’t directly IT-related; the truth is, they couldn’t be more wrong.

Tech-driven innovation is the key to getting ahead right now, and if CEOs are to depend on it, they need a certain level of understanding. If this doesn’t happen, the power will soon shift and it’ll be IT departments making the major decisions. So collaboration between CEO and CIO is crucial.

This partnership must begin on an educational front. CIOs have a duty to ensure their executive officers know what’s going on among the tech team, otherwise the accountability lines will soon blur. It’s all well and good when something goes right and the credit’s there for the taking, but IT departments also need to cover themselves.

It’s more than just a case of avoiding the blame game though; two heads (or groups of heads) really are better than one when it comes to progress. Collaboration is all about bringing different skills to the table and while an IT specialist is likely to know more about tech, the CEO will have a profound knowledge or the business. This can only help innovation efforts.