The specific word represented by the center letter during a CXO job is usually well-established and hasn’t changed in years, often decades. CEO immediately brings to mind a company’s baron. Everyone acknowledges the COO is liable for operations and therefore the CFO manages the company’s finances.
But how about the “I” in CIO? Several years ago, the notion of the CIO because the Chief Integration Officer began making the rounds, and Ron Gurrier, CIO of Farmers Insurance, discussed the CIIIO (Information, Integration, and Inspiration Officer) in his article “From CIO to CIIIO-Being Chief Information Officer is not any Longer Enough.” But most CIOs, both inside and beyond the aerospace industry, have an entire bunch of “I’s” on which we'd like to focus, and an entire lot of eyes focused on us!
I is for Information – little question, the normal definition remains extremely important. CIOs are liable for ensuring customers can create, analyze, store, share, locate, exploit, and transform information. Protecting and preserving information will always be key accountability also.
I is for Innovation – As Chief Innovation Officers, we are constantly seeking the simplest thanks to improving organizational capabilities. Applied correctly, information technology may be a key force-multiplier for knowledge workers, and knowledge exchange typically fuels innovation. We’ve seen how technology and cloud computing can help engineers solve difficult problems at increasing scales. We’ve also seen how machine learning can find hidden correlations and make it easier for our customers to seek out the knowledge they have. Automation can eliminate manual work, reduce bureaucracy, and release staff to figure on more important and artistic problems.
I is for Infrastructure – We are in charge of the operation of hardware and software infrastructures, whether on-site or within the cloud: networks, servers, storage, applications, databases, mobile devices, and knowledge security. Beyond this, CIOs are in charge of ensuring this infrastructure is reliable, robust, and operates at enterprise scale—such that everything “just works” and our customers never need to believe these concerns. (In that sense, we also are Chief Invisibility Officers!)
I is for Identity – CIOs today own identity management for his or her organizations, which integrates all our services. Identity management is the key to security. We’re in charge of ensuring that we all know who is accessing our networks, systems, and data— and ensuring that everybody is who they assert they are! Identity management may be additionally how to enhance the user experience—the nirvana of universal single sign-on is a goal of each CIO and, like most things, tantalizingly just out of reach. Identity management also represents a chance to use personalization to tailor portals, dashboards, and search results to individual customers’ needs.