Alternative titles like chief digital officer and chief technology officer muddy the situation and might even dilute authority.
Stories by Paul M. Ingevaldson
The IT department should behave like every other department in the company and forthrightly explain what it is up to. Insider (registration required)
No two IT shops conduct business in the same way: CIOs report to various executives, project approval processes are all over the board, and personnel policies are vastly different. Unlike other professions, IT doesn't seem to have a common set of basic principles across companies.
Today's topic is the question I most often received as an IT manager: "Why can't I get promoted?"
If you read IT magazine columns, you've probably been offered a lot of advice about how to operate as the CIO. Certainly, such advice is easy to give, but it's often hard to implement. So I thought that I would try to get down to the conversation level and recommend some actual dialogue that you, as the CIO, could have with the boss.
In the early days of IT, we would never suggest to users that they should adjust their operations to the requirements of the software that we were developing. It was always the other way around. We wrote software so that it worked exactly as the users requested. After all, the users were the clients, and IT was trying to automate their departments, not make life easier for itself.
There can't be a more daunting task for a new CEO (whether promoted from inside or recruited from outside) than to try to understand the status of the IT department. It's a difficult area to become comfortable with, since most CEOs aren't schooled in IT operations.
For many years, IT has been trying to make the case that the CIO should report directly to the CEO. But surveys show that only about 40% of CIOs do so, and the proportion that report to the CFO is on the rise. I contend that this is happening because IT has failed to make the case for the importance of the direct reporting relationship. Here are eight reasons why the CIO should report to the CEO.