Chief Information Officers – What do they really do?
July 7, 2019 – Marjorie Furay, CEO TechOps Consulting
As Chief Information Officer, my main responsibility is to communicate the status and needs of the IT department to the C-suite of executives as I oversee and implement the technology goals of the company (BLS, 2017). A CIO.com survey found that almost half of the CIO’s time is spent communicating with senior executives, departmental leadership, customers and vendors with 15% on the technology itself anymore (Varon, 2002). In a merger & acquisition (M & A) it is just that, important to keep everyone informed and working with them to make it a clean transition. My duties are to express the need for hardware, software, staff, finances, and time to get this data and information merged efficiently and adequately without affecting the customer and company processes.
Planning is the most important aspect of a successful M & A, so we can only hope that the business executives have done their due diligence prior to the acquisition (Worthen, 2002). AS CIO, I have first made sure that my IT infrastructure and architecture are scalable to integrate this new data and IT technology coming over and is enough to grow on. Almost 75% of the work is deciding on which systems to keep, what data to audit, purge or add, and how much work needs to be done before the companies are technically joined together (Worthen, 2002). I must be sure I have enough data analysts and developers on staff to go through the information from both companies. They would audit the records and compare data while purging redundancies and adding new data. New databases need to be created and information must be analyzed as we absorb that from the other company. It all needs to work hand-in-hand with each other in small IT projects (Worthen, 2002).
This is where the company culture must match or change to suit the merger. Examining cultural differences and anticipating them can be the catalyst for a complete meltdown of team communication or the factor that brings the team to complete success. We are not talking about the colors on the office walls or the best chairs or standing desks to use. We are talking about systems integration where one company is process-oriented and the other is creative and fluid (Worthen, 2002). Some companies document every process, idea or workflow while others keep it in their heads and train others. These facets are ticking time bombs and should be explored and understood with both sides coming to a compromise. Creating this will provide a dominant side as a driving force behind the assimilation and developing one person who is singularly accountable for the work and its deadlines. To be successful with the data integration, both companies must be aggressive in following the business goals while cleaning out the systems but staying creative in keeping the best of the two.
BLS. (2018, April 13). Chief information officers: Computer and information systems managers. Bureau of labor statistics: Occupational outlook handbook. Retrieved from Varon, E. (2002, Mar 1). The state of the CIO – A CIO’s responsibilities. Retrieved from Worthen, B. (2002, Aug 15). Success factors for integrating IT systems after a merger. Retrieved from