Title Changes in the Executive Suite Signal Cultural Shifts

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According to The Info-Tech Research Group's job description, available in the IT Downloads library, the CIO's strategic responsibilities include the following areas:


  • Participate in strategic and operational governance processes of the business organization as a member of the senior management team.
  • Lead IT strategic and operational planning to achieve business goals by fostering innovation, prioritizing IT initiatives, and coordinating the evaluation, deployment, and management of current and future IT systems across the organization.
  • Develop and maintain an appropriate IT organizational structure that supports the needs of the business.
  • Establish IT departmental goals, objectives, and operating procedures.
  • Identify opportunities for the appropriate and cost-effective investment of financial resources in IT systems and resources, including staffing, sourcing, purchasing, and in-house development.
  • Assess and communicate risks associated with IT investments.
  • Develop, track, and control the information technology annual operating and capital budgets.
  • Develop business case justifications and cost/benefit analyses for IT spending and initiatives.
  • Direct development and execution of an enterprise-wide disaster recovery and business continuity plan.
  • Assess and make recommendations on the improvement or re-engineering of the IT organization.


Would the same strategic duties seem appropriate for a Chief Business Technology Officer instead? As Ann All wrote, Forrester Research has made the change to the CBTO title, after the organization's CEO, George Colony, mulled the idea for a couple of years. In some instances, the duties change before the title catches up, but in this instance, at least some of the changes occurred after the switch from CIO to CBTO, according to Colony. He is pleased with several of them, including higher-quality applicants for the position.


Certainly, titles can help attract desirable applicants initially, but the relationship between the organization's goals and supporting processes and strategies are what will keep them around for the long term. In Forrester's case, it appears that the cultural attitude toward the CIO's strategic position shifted before the title did. The real difference comes in the balance between strategic and operational duties within the position.


Does the Info-Tech CIO job description appropriately describe the range of duties your enterprise expects a candidate to address? What percentage of the position would realistically be consumed by operational duties?

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