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CIO or IT Manager?
26 February 2015

CSUB443-CIO-or-ITManager-Is there a difference between a CIO and an IT Manager?  If so, what are the differences?  Or are they really one and the same?

A Post by Mark Roman, a university CIO, describes the difference as an IT Managerfocuses primarily on technology.  A Chief Information Officer focuses on people, processes, projects, and technology as a holistic system designed to achieve the mutual interests of the entire organization”.

Another opinion focused on the word “information”, that a CIO focuses on the information required and an IT Manager is focused on the technology.

An anonymous opinion, someone in a sales role, said he worked with many people holding one or the other title and there wasn’t any difference at all and put it down to the CIO being in larger or government organisations and an IT Manager being in smaller or medium organisations.

The general opinion though appears to be that the CIO while still very tech savvy, sees the bigger picture, is more aware of the “people” factor and how the technology will fit the organisation’s goals and needs, while the IT Manager ensures the technology is current and functions as it should.

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Postgraduate degrees in Information Systems Management are now offered which include accounting, economics, finance, management and marketing aimed at graduates taking up the role of Chief Information Officer.  Prerequisites for the courses are degrees in Information Technology.  Which also appears to indicate the IT Manager role, with additional skills and knowledge progresses to the CIO role.

Roman also suggests “A CIO is part of the DNA of the entire organization, not just the techie side of it.  A CIO is deeply engaged in the core mission of the organization where technology is viewed as a means to an end.”

“The Accidental Successful CIO™” suggests there are three changes which need to happen for an IT Manager to become a CIO—

  • Go from specialist to generalist
  • Go from analyst to integrator, and
  • Go from tactician to strategist

All three indicate a broadening of scope, knowledge and skills.

So it is an evolution and a transformation, both mean growth and are good for the mind and the soul.