In general, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for ensuring that the organizations information technology investments are aligned with its strategic business objectives. For most Fortune 2000 companies, the CIO has become the the architect of building and managing technology assets that meet the business requirements. Many CIOs come from a business background and lack the hands-on-skills in architecting solutions. To help alleviate this gap, often a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) was hired to support the CIO. While the CIO was the big boss in most organizations, technology-centric firms gave more credence to the CTO.
Large firms can afford the luxury of having both the CIO and CTO. Small to Mid-Sized Businesses (SMBs) rarely have the luxury of affording two executives. As outsourcing to emerging markets gains momentum, there is less need for having two executives. Many CIOs lack the technical skills to build contemporary IT efficiently. Conversely, many CTOs lack the business skills to build a technology portfolio that best matches the organization’s needs.
What SMBs need is a hybrid between a CIO and CTO. Rare as they are, there are individuals who have this unique ability to build the state-of-art technology enveloped in a project portofolio that is carefully prioritized and aligned to match the organization’s strategic plan. These hybrids are effectively Chief Information and Technology Officers (CITO). The critical word in CITO is and. A good CITO has the perfect balance between expertise in developing technology that is driven by business, but built on a platform that is effective to meet the current and future needs of the organization.