CIO Position Is Awarded More Power, Professionals See Plus Side

CIO's Elaborate DeskThe title of chief information officer has long had a ring of prestige to it. However, in recent years, the appeal of this top ranking post may be waning, though some are attempting to prevent that from happening.

Even though there are many information technology professionals who are passionate about everything IT, there could be a ceiling to their desire to progress within the ranks of their departments.

There is no doubt that being named CIO is an admirable, honorable feat. That being said, some tech professionals have recognized that there is more to the position than glory, unsure if they are willing to take on the various duties that would be bestowed upon them if they were to step into this role.

Why shy away from the CIO position?
What exactly is acting as a deterrent for IT employees? It depends on the tech professional, but there are some common concerns that may discourage staff members from wanting to advance and become the CIO.

Computerworld investigated this emerging IT phenomenon. According to a recent poll conducted by the news source, 55 percent of surveyed tech employees reported that becoming a CIO is not one of their career objectives. While over half of the respondents stated that they did not wish to pursue this top IT position, only 32 percent claimed that they would like to assume the role of CIO.

Among the reasons cited for the dwindling enthusiasm when it comes to chasing after the highest title within IT departments, professionals listed everything from dealing with too much politics and having a lack of real authority in the general business scheme of things as the main disincentives that dissuade them from wanting to reach CIO status.

Playing politics is not all fun and games
As with any other upper tier job, CIOs have to deal with an ample amount of office politics. Because they are higher up in the ranks, they are often exposed to more nitty-gritty situations. Unlike other IT professionals who do not have to get involved in all of the mechanical minutiae of their companies’ and even departments’ operations, executives have to step up to the plate and sort out any issues that arise.

“The politics are endless and there’s not a lot of respect for the position,” said Christopher Barron, CIO at Valerus. “The C-suite is pretty apathetic about the CIO position. What they want is for systems to work and they want no drama out of IT.”

Most IT professionals want to know that all of the hard work they have invested into becoming CIOs was not all for naught.

“If people are going to work hard toward getting a C-level title, they want it to mean something,” stated Barron. “What a lot of people see is that CIOs don’t wield either the power or authority commensurate to a C-level title.”

CIOs granted more authority on the advisory board
While some may tech employees may feel that the power of the CIO is limited compared to other business executives, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, as IT becomes increasingly important to companies, making its way into almost every aspect of organizations’ functions, high ranking professionals in other divisions are going to need CIOs and their tech wisdom.

According to recent findings compiled by Forbes Insights and Dell, three-fourths of executives with corporate titles hope that their CIOs are active participants within their businesses’ advisory board. They no longer want to limit CIOs’ authority, having them make decisions that only concern their IT infrastructure.

Instead, many members of organizations’ C-suites want to abandon their current silo approach to technology. Acknowledging that technology holds the key to meeting consumer needs, business executives plan to include CIOs in the decision making process as they confront ways to overhaul their operations.

By making sure that CIOs play a part in organizations’ advisory practices, companies will benefit in more ways than one. These IT executives will be able to guide businesses throughout an increasingly tech-driven market, setting their enterprises up for greater success.

At the same time, technology professionals may start to see the appeal in the CIO position. With more influence on business decisions, IT executives may be seen as vital contributors to the C-suite. In turn, all of the effort put into climbing up the career ladder could seem like a more tempting option for tech employees.

Marie Larsen
Marie is a writer for She has an educational background in languages and literature. She covers IT trends and executive technology management topics for the company.