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The Role of the CIO in Effective Information Technology Strategic


TheRole of the CIO in Effective Information Technology StrategicPlanning through Corporate Governance


Mostorganizations in the business world are increasingly relying ontechnology to advance their businesses in one way or another. Thisautomatically creates the need to align technology to the firm in acompetitive manner that can foster growth and result in profit.Additionally, technological aspects of businesses must be dynamicenough to adopt and change with respect to businesses behaviors.Business behaviors, which include set business missions, values,culture, goals, and objectives, are usually flexible in nature duetheir constant re-evaluation and adjustment with the aim ofcapitalizing on rising opportunities. IT Strategic Planning is avital role in businesses and is directly influenced by the CIO’sskills and competency. The CIOs key task involves governingorganizations’ IT operations. In corporate governance, there areneeds to outline processes, mechanism, and relations which direct andcontrol the organization. CIOs normally achieves this important roleby ensuring that IT and business behaviors align in an amicablemanner with the aim of achieving the company’s short-term andlong-term aspirations. Moreover, through corporate governance, theynormally help organizations in determining, acquiring, and setting upappropriate software and infrastructures for use in firms. She/hewill need to rely on the companies` internal needs and other externalfactors to competently deliver on this promise. Correct investmentsmade in IT normally bear commendable fruits and helps firms torealize their business aspirations and appreciate in growth. Researchfindings indicate that the process of crafting IT strategy should becollective and needs good governance to be achieved. With the CIO atthe helm of an IT strategic planning task, she/he determines therightful persons to assume decision rights and input rights in issuesregarding technology. This helps decentralize computing powers andgives room for accountability in inventions and innovations.

Keywords:CIO, Strategic Planning, IT, Corporate Governance

TheRole of CIO in Strategic Planning through Corporate Governance

Thenever ending evolutions in current world’s technology open up thecorporate the world to need for a CIO. The post holds multiple rolesthat showcase good corporate governance, technological sophisticationtalents and technical maneuver in crafting important strategies thatwill facilitate business growth, inventions, innovations, andoperations. Even though a CIO is expensive to maintain, gains andbenefits from their forward thinking and argil nature areirresistible. The CIO usually aligns businesses and technology in acompetitive and competent way within the corporate world. He/shemakes great efforts of polishing the IT aspect of the business todeliver desirable results that adapt to innovative ideas andoverseeing strategized operations that stabilize and expand thebusinesses. The CIO is a useful role-player to both the executive andstrategic planning wings of the corporate governance. The researchpaper seeks to resolve the following two questions what should a CIOdo in strategic planning? How is a strategy crafted?

TheRole of CIO in Corporate Governance

Dutiesof a CIO as a Corporate Leader

Dynamicsof technology always begs for the need of CIO to effectivelystrategize with the aim of ensuring that businesses use IT to runsmoothly, are profitable and creates exponential room for growth andexpansion. He/she also needs to endorse innovation when strategizingon ways of introducing, maintaining and enhancing technologicalsophistication for the organization (Levin, 2013).

Outliningthe available technology, which is advantageous to the business, isone of the roles of CIO. There is a rush in innovations of technologyon a daily basis. Some of these inventions may not necessarily beapplicable even though they are attractive and business fields wouldlike to implement them. Saijja (2015), states that a CIO ought togovern businesses from the forefront through the determination of thebest technology that meets the organization’s needs. Theseselections should be strategic and mindful of the already existingtechnology and their use and application in other relatedorganization. He/she should also ensure that businesses arestrategically placed in ways that ensure introduction, planning, andimplementations of technology are successful. These strategies shouldalso be subject to change in order to keep up with the dynamic worldof technology and maintain their suitability in usage.

Thereis a great need for the CIO to determine that the company’sresources are invested amicably in new technologies. This will ensurethat technological sophistication that is much needed to initiatecompetence in the corporate world does not surpass its predeterminedbudget allocations. New ever-changing innovations in IT need theimportant roles of the CEO to strategically plan on ways of aligningIT to the corporate world. This involves outlining the new technologyof the outside world to the business with the aim of ensuring itsadoption in running the business. Additionally, he/she needs totailor strategies that will convince the corporate board members intoadjusting several sections of the existing governance so that newsystems are effectively implemented (Ball, Weaver, and Keil, 2013).

Thestrategy of aligning technology to business also ensures alterationon the company’s budget effectively supports the initiative. Budgetallocation is paramount in the acquisition of software and sometimesinfrastructure that will support operations of the technology. Thisalso involves strategizing on obtaining appropriate andeconomy-friendly infrastructures to ensure that the technology of theorganization meets the heightened expectation for running both thebusiness to profitable margins, expanding business opportunities andsatisfying the expectation of technology conscience customers.

Governancein IT strategic planning involves specifying who is best suited tomake decision rights. It also ensures that policy makers areaccountable for all their actions. Growing firms decentralizedecision rights and gauge IT capability on business outcome.Profit-making firms, on the other hand, centralize decision to anexecutive docket.

Andriole(2012) outlines the technicality for CIOs to develop whendistributing and decentralizing computing powers within theorganization. This would ensure that business systems strategize toemulate the current flexible model of operations. It will also resultin efficient utilization of the updated infrastructure that iscurrently decentralized in nature. Decentralization also results invaluable innovations in technology from personnel. Maturity inorganization governance has drifted from the traditionally rigidtop-down approach which operated through centralization andstandardization (Andriole, 2012). It is the responsibility of the CIOto set a tone for safe, disciplined and secure innovations. There arealso increasing needs to uphold integrity while governing a corporateso that employees take absolute responsibility for the actions theytake in operating all the infrastructures and software at theirdisposal.

CIOsare normally tasked with the responsibility of determining the bestpersons fit to make different IT decisions that will affect strategicbusiness planning. He/she also strategically chooses personnel whowill practice output rights once business decisions have beendetermined. According to Weil (2011), best governance for decisionrights came from the use of IT duopoly technique. Here two partiesare actively involved in decision-making process. They includebusiness representative on one side while IT representative formedthe other party. These two sides adequately addressed issues of ITprinciples and investment roles as outlined in decision rights.Correct handling of these two decisions optimizes implementation,both old and new technological systems. The CIOs should ensure thatdecision rights join forces from both the IT professionals andbusiness leaders. They should also ensure that they focus on otherlocal issues that affect business leaders are adequately addressed.This model of governance allows for business solutions that arecreative and aligned to accepted business framework. In a duopoly, ITexecutives stem from IT groups, and Business teams come from businessprocess owners and leaders (Weil, 2014).

Thereare five main technology decisions that CIOs govern. They include ITinvestment and prioritization, IT principles, IT architecture,business needs that apply to the acquired IT investments, strategiesregarding how to use and acquire infrastructures and which integratedtypes of technology will suit the business needs. On the aspect of ITprioritization and investments, decision alike how much needs to bespent and where to invest it are paramount.

Throughhis/her governance, the CIO systematically determines output rightsand decision rights in the organization personnel. Research done byWeil (2004) indicates that more than 80% of the output rights areefficiently done using the federal governance in enterprises. This iswhere arrangements are made to provide equilibrium betweenaccountability and responsibility from the various governing bodies.It is, therefore, a decision made that involves both the center andits respective business units. The representatives from businessunits may come from business process owners or unit leaders or bothparties. There is also room for IT leaders from corporate or businessunits.

Weil(2011) concurs with the fact that output rights normally assessdecision rights. Output rights are normally practiced by budgetpersons, process cross-functional teams, and committees. Theynormally assess the suitability of decisions made. Furthermore, theyalso provide feedback on the finding made in regards to IT decisions.Alternatively, CIOs can strategize on outsourcing input rights fromother avenues like consultant agencies, vendors, business partnersor universities (Gerth and Preppard, 2014).

Personswho need to make use of the innovative decision are also importantbecause the correct implementation of technology always benefits theorganization. The CIO also develops strategies on the rightful groupof people from different assets of the organizations that should usethe innovation. This delocalization role of CIOs ensures that staffis actively involved in determining the technological aspect of thebusiness. It also ensures that persons are held accountable for theirrole in advancing the business operation through the directinvolvement with respect to their outlined duties. CIOs should ensurethat all IT decisions made are subjected to books and studies. Itwill also result in incompetent decisions that promise excellentdelivery in the cooperation.

Usingtechnology, CIOs can adequately help in strategizing ways that willmarket the business to all relevant consumers. Marketing at corporateplatform will attract more business adventures, consumption levels,and profit. This will intern encourage business growth anddevelopment. There are also needs to market the business to othersmall-scale consumers. Hien (2014) indicates that CIOs ought to alsodevise ways that will appropriately implement the usage of socialmedia to market the business. This marketing technique must solidifyand protect the positive reputation of the business. The social mediacan be opposed by a board of governors and other business leadersbecause it can expose the business to bad publicity and heightenedcompetition. However, CIOs should develop mass media marketing sitesin ways that empower the organization. The use of technology needs toemploy tactful directives that will present business objectives andgoals. The choice of channel to use is also important. This decisioninvolves determining targeted audience and their respectivepreference in use of social media whether Facebook or businesswebsites. There are also needs to plan on how to run, fund, maintainand staff personnel for this marketing course (Scott and Jacka,2011). If marketing is to be achieved through duty allocation withinthe business, there are also needs to plan on ways of administeringit in an accountable manner. However, should the need of outsourcingarise, there are needs to research and determine the best vendors toappoint. All these issues can effectively be endorsed under thegovernance of CIO in businesses.

Closerelations between persons developing strategic objectives and goalsthat outline business needs and the CIO are important. De Haes andVan Grembergen (2015) recommend the importance of placing CIOs aspart of the board of governance. They state that this willconsistently ensure that he/she obtains briefings the organizationoutlook. It will then give the IT department a clear picture ofbusiness intentions, evaluations and even projections for the future.Equipping them with current affairs of the organization will easetechnology planning strategies. CIOs should also consistently beincluded in other meetings that formulate strategies related to thebusiness. This will facilitate his/her duty in determining thesuitability of strategies on the selection of best technologies thatare equipped to sustain flexible operational needs appropriately. DeHaes and Van Grembergen (2015) state that organizations can haveseveral value chains that include administration, finance, andaccounts among others. They acknowledge the administrative role ofCIOs as influential in determining, monitor and maneuver withtechnologies that support each value-chain section of theorganization (Ragowsky et al., 2014).

CIOsmust also participate in corporate governance by developing a goodrelationship with other competing organizations in the market(Devenport, 2013). This will develop environments where businessescan exchange ideas on technology best practices and operations. Thesebusiness relationships will also cause the CIO to access analysis oncustomer experiences feedbacks to new technologies implementations.Devenport (2013) also outlines that business relationships will helpin exploring innovative data analysis capabilities in the corporateworld. This will also effectively place CIOs in positions essentialfor determining cross-enterprise innovations implementation thatwould increase operation efficiency in businesses and thus initiatingthe desired growth and development. Business-related findings alsohelp in ensuring that best practices in technology inventions arewell implemented and work. It will also assist in determiningtechnology investments on the losing track together with the natureof their unsuitability. This will protect the business from lossesthat could arise due to poor investments in non-performingtechnology.

Weil(2011) states that good businesses use CIOs to establish ITperformance besides their other interlinked leadership roles. CIOsare important because of the influence they place on IT investmentsin organizations by combining best practices with appropriatetechnology. Weil (2011) reiterates that top-performing enterprisesmaneuver ways of generating and evaluating returns on theirinvestment. He places these top-performers at 40% more in returnswhen compared to other business with similar business investmentsthat lack investment re-evaluation. The CIO needs to strategicallyseek the value of technology investment in the business. This can bemeasured by determining how well the technology has laid businessstrategies. These findings will assess the needs for change iftechnology performance does not meet the target or is below average.IT usage assessment will also showcase the importance of technologyto the organization amidst excellence performance.

Accordingto Weil (2011), there are five determining factors associated with aperformance of technology in organizations. The first one is based onthe accomplishment of business strategies amidst technology. Positiveresults will show the CIO that IT inventions were appropriate.However, the converse is true for failed technology projects(Holsapple, 2013).

Weil(2011) concurs that CIOs should rate the performance of strategicplanning delivery in the corporate governance. This will gauge theirperformance and determine areas that need improvement whenadministering their talents to better organization outcome. They needto determine their service delivery through four importantobjectives. These are use of IT in a cost effective manner,efficient asset utilization, administration of technology to fostergrowth, and effective implementation of technology to administerflexibility in businesses. His/her governance should also objectivelyzero in on the advantages and disadvantages arising from usage of newIT inventions on both long-term and short-term basis (Hornstein,2012). The benefits of the invented technology should ensureshareholders of the business are assured of appropriate measures ofreturn on investments (ROI). This will authenticate the requirementsof the business in keeping up with evolutions of technology.Consideration of the disadvantages will ensure that introduction ofinventions in the business is informative and with a clearconscience.

Scottand Jacka (2011) also stipulated that another measure of performanceof IT strategic planning is the amount of money spent while investingin them. This amount can then be compared to business returns so asto gauge the performance of IT budget allocations. The CIO normallygathers efforts in the firm that ensure committees approvals of newinfrastructure and check-backs to make sure that behaviors displayedin the organization match with the norms, culture, mission, andvisions. It is also the duty of the CIO to ensure that any change inorganizational behaviors infiltrates to technology. They aretherefore supposed to be versatile and agile with the changes of thebusiness. For instance, if the organization shifts from the custodialservices to customer-centered services, the CIO needs to implementtechnology that will support the new business strategies. This mayentail requesting for infrastructure and even economic support. Thisintern links the desirable behaviors to corporate governance. Thereare thus needs to determine whether these investments are forthcomingand useful to the business. If IT investments are not yieldingdesired delivery, then the CIO can strategize on other advantageousIT adjustments. Another measure of technology innovation involvesassessing best practices that align technology with their businessstrategies.

Assigningaccountability to changes in the organization that will benefit frominvesting in technology capabilities can also evaluate the fruits ofIT investments. IT prioritization and infrastructure implementationthat are opening up for reuse are also the other measures on properuse and performance of IT. Good planning and strategizing will ensurethat the company acquires IT assets with sharing capability bothwithin the organization and in partnering businesses (Hornstein,2012).

Craftingand Execution of a Strategy

Withthe ever-changing technology, organizations` management has a burdenof updating their methods of operations. As such, the crafting ofstrategies becomes a crucial role. As aforementioned, the CIO has arole to play in achieving the firm`s objectives and goals. Theprocess of drafting a strategy is mainly concerned with the formationof responses to changes in the external environment. According toPugh&amp Bourgeois (2011),a strategy is not just a letter from the CEO or the management,rather, it is how one thinks about business, assessing its strengthsand weaknesses and envisioning of the possibilities. Based on thisinformation, a strategy can be said to be something that managementdoes, and it is a continuous process if growth and success are to berealized in an organization. The CIO, as a strategist, is expectedto devise aggressive moves and approaches with the aim of deliveringa competitive advantage and build valuable competencies andcapabilities and unite all the strategic actions and units in theorganization.

Thebiggest challenge is that, despite the importance of this process,some management personnel does not understand how well to develop astrategy. The Information Technology sector is one of the mostdynamic, which puts the CIO at a crucial role in an organization.

TheCIO, in Mintzberg metaphor (2013), is a craftsman and the strategy ishis clay. Just like the potter, a CIO oversees and sits between thepast of an organization`s capabilities and a future of promisingopportunities (Mintzberg, 2013). To be recognized as competentcraftsmen, the CIO is expected to bring to his work the knowledge andskills of the materials at hand.

Readingthe mind of an Organization. Asa craftsman, a CIO is expected to understand what the organizationwants at any given time and know what to deliver. He should recognizethe various views of individual employees within an organization.Incorporation of collective mind is essential as this is the only wayone can get views from different people and craft a strategy thatwill be acceptable within the enterprise. An important aspect informulating a plan is the connection between thoughts and actions(Mintzberg, 2013). In strategic planning, an idea is expected to leadto another until the goal is realized. In the crafting process, anaction drives thinking, and in the process, a strategy emerges. Astrategy can be accomplished either in response to a situation thatis happening within a business or through the formulation of an ideaand followed by its implementation (Pugh&amp Bourgeois, 2011).

Hands&amp Minds. Bothhands and minds are essential in corporate governance. As a leader ina large organization, the CIO s expected to apply his hands-on skillsin solving issues and apply his mind in the decision-making processto make sound judgments.

Grass-RootsStrategy Making. Strategiesare assumed to grow like weeds. They usually take root in every placewhere individuals have the capability to learn. Strategies can onlybecome organizational if they are collective, implying that theyshould grow to guide the organization’s behavior. As such, a CIO isexpected to motivate business employees who would in return, assistin decision-making and may come up with innovative ways to handleissues within the enterprise (Peppard,Edwards &amp Lambert, 2011).Regarding this approach, deliberation and control should be combinedwith flexibility and learning in an organization.


TheCIO is an important person in corporate governance. His/her agile andflexible nature results in strategies that align technology tobusiness goals. This is crucial to the growth and stability of firms.In order to function well, the CIO should be a member of the board ofgovernance to know business needs. This will also put him/her in thebest position of discussing the plausible IT invention that areavailable in the outside world and that will improve the performanceof the business. It can be anticipated that, in some time to come,the rate at which information and technology world changes will begreater than the pace of other business aspects. In such a time, theCIO will be a crucial figure in aligning the information andtechnology vision of an organization with the pace of the digitalworld and establish the required leadership skills and capabilities.



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Figure1: An Overview of Strategic Management, comprising StrategyFormulation and Strategy Implementation