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By David Chou, Digital Health Evangelist, dchougroup, and former CIO, University of Mississippi Medical Center

This article is by Featured Blogger David Chou from his LinkedIn page.

The world is increasingly becoming a global village and the relevance of information technology is becoming more profound each passing day. Technology has impacted virtually every facet of human life; from, healthcare to communication, sports, business, finance, and transportation. In fact technology has been massively useful in making life easier and more bearable for human beings. As a result of this massive spread of IT all over the place, companies and business entities providing IT related services are becoming popular.

Traditionally, a Chief Executive officer (CEO) runs most organizations. They function as head of management in the organization. They set strategic directions and provide leadership to their employees even as they work together to fulfill organizational goals. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is normally the head of the IT department of the organization. Their job functions includes; setting business technology strategic directions and providing leadership to the staffs and personnel of the IT unit of an organization. CIOs are key part of any business that utilizes technology.

Since CEO’s are heads of a whole organization and CIO’S are heads of the Information Technology units of an organization, it therefore follows that running Information Technology as a sole business entity would therefore entail the CIO to function as the CEO i.e. the overall head. Even in organizations with CEO and CIO positions, there’s already some form of similarity between the roles performed by the CIO and the CEO. For example, to be an effective CIO, an individual is required to have strong organizational skills, also at times; they are involved in the selection and recruitment of personnel and staffs for the organization and in some organizations, the CIO together with the CEO are members of the executive committee.

Running Information Technology as a sole business entity is different in size and scope from existing as a unit within the organization. For a CIO to function well in the position of the CEO, he needs to adopt some mindsets and mentality that would make him perform equally well or even better than a CEO.

There is an age old belief that CIOs are introverts. This myth has been around for several years now, it stems from the belief that for you to be a coder, you don’t need teamwork and that you become a coder because you like working by yourself. Of course, this myth has been discredited time and time again but it may still be true in some cases, for a CIO to successfully transition into the post of a CEO he needs to be cordial, cheerful and expressive, not in an extreme way but at least in a way that he can communicate his goals and projections effectively to the staff.

It has been argued as well that CIO’s, as a result of being a mere departmental head, may not possess the right human characteristics and dynamism that is needed especially in a growing business organization. For example, they may not have the right people skills and capabilities needed to be overall head because in a business you need to be loved by the staff. Then for a CIO to function as CEO effectively and efficiently they need to work more on their people skills as it could directly influence the success or otherwise of their positions as CEO. Above all, the CIO role consists of the following:

1.Manage the P&L of the department

2.Running IT as a business

3.Mentoring the team and identifying talent

4.Influence decisions and be a part of the organization strategy

It is necessary for the future CIOs and aspiring CIO to starting thinking like a CEO of the department in order to be successful in the role.

Originally published on LinkedIn