chief-info-officerResearch indicates that the average length of a Chief Information Officer’s (CIO’s) job tenure is five years. Making the leap from IT Manager to CIO is not an easy one, and the responsibilities involved in the CIO position are often underestimated.

A CIO must have the ability to empower his/her team members, individually and as a unified entity. Reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a CIO is responsible for strategizing and driving the business’ vision. Therefore, the CIO needs to be able to depend on his/her team to carry out day-to-day functions without being micromanaged. Contrary to the IT departmental structure, an Office of the CIO structure is a team-oriented approach to IT management in which the CIO delegates specialized IT roles. This frees up the CIO’s time to concentrate on other executive duties (e.g., vendor management, compliance, etc.).

According to The Social Government CIO Blog, a government CIO’s tenure is even shorter—approximately two years—due to a number of factors. The article suggests a number of qualities that a government CIO should have. They are:

  • Stewardship – we are entrusted with public funds. We are living off of everybody’s taxes, so we must constantly challenge ourselves to do the most with the least.  We can’t/don’t/won’t just toss cash at a problem to make it go away. We’ll think it through and get all kinds of creative on it. The gauntlet has been thrown.
  • Teamwork –The best projects come from a team – a team of customers, techies and maybe even a few quality vendor folks as well. Bringing together a team of independent players around the war table to solve a common problem or reach a shared goal is a very good feeling.


  • Creativity – As budgets shrink, agencies turn to IT for cost savings – let’s automate these manual processes, let’s upgrade to self-service, etc. Our funding is reduced too, yet the project load doesn’t shrink accordingly. Demands go up but funding, staffing and resources dwindle or if you’re lucky, they stay level. If necessity is the mother of invention, government IT must be the father.


  • Evolution – The only constant in technology is change. Today is no different. Yesterday, the cloud, open data and BYOD were all theoretical. Today, we are living through them (like it or not). Tomorrow they’ll be resolved and we’ll face new challenges and adventures. Service, information and processes should rule the day.  Stay open, stay involved, and communicate with customers if you want to stay relevant.”


To learn more about the government CIO’s role and qualifications, see the full article online.

Government CIO: You’re Not an IT Manager Anymore

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