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What is a CIO? [Video]

October 17th, 2020 | Business Operations, IT Consulting

Video Transcription

Nick LaPalomento: Hi there. Thanks for joining for another Tech Talk. I’m Nick and I’m joined again by Chad Hiatt, he’s our chief information officer here at Aldridge.

Today, we’re going to be talking about our CIOs that we provide for our clients. Chad, go ahead and describe for us what a CIO is.

Chad Hiatt: A chief information officer within an organization within Aldridge, or even in overall delivery, is really tasked with strategically aligning IT to what the business’s objectives are. The CIO is normally part of the executive leadership team of the organization. Whereas the CEO is going to define the vision and then mandate the direction of the organization. The CEO will say, “We’re going to accomplish this in the next year or the next two years or the next three years. Here are our goals. Here’s what we’re trying to do.”

The CIO then internalizes that and says, “Okay, within my teams, within technology, and what technology does within the organization, here’s how we are going to either accomplish or support the other teams and those initiatives. Here’s what we’re bringing to the table to make that happen and make sure that as an organization we achieve that.”

Nick: What are some of the key benefits that our CIO is bringing to our clients?

Chad: Most of our clients in the small to medium-sized business level, while they can certainly benefit from the strategy that a CIO brings and the IT knowledge that a CIO bring, often it’s not economically appropriate for clients of that scale to have a full-time CIO role. It makes sense for them to be able to leverage the expertise of what Aldridge brings to them much like they leverage our expertise for our services desk and network operations and implementation teams.

The CIO role is actually part of our overall service delivery to our clients to that the CIO can participate in the leadership meetings and strategize with the client and say, “Well, let’s really talk about what we’re trying to do over the next 12 months, or 24 months, or 36 months, so that we understand what we’re trying to build the solution to support.” It’s not just a matter of going in and saying this is the right product and here’s the thing that’s new and this is exciting. It’s like, no, house [sic] is really going to generate more revenue or reduce costs in the client environment to help them achieve what they’re really trying to do as an organization.

In fact, the best relationships that we’ve got with some of our clients that are at a very high level of maturity, we are always planning ahead. Usually, those conversation are occurring 12 to 18 months down the road. We know what’s going to be happening. That information, that part of that strategy part of what we’re doing for an IT architectural perspective gets fed back into our service teams, into our network operations teams, so that they understand what our client organizations are trying to accomplish. Everything that we’re doing as an organization for IT is in context and that’s usually led by the CIO.

Nick: Where does the CIO fit in the framework that we have for successful IT?

Chad: The CIO Sits are the strategy level in the framework. They often also participate in the architectural or the management components of it. When you’re designing IT, there’s a very large part of the design that has to be driven by the strategy of the organization. They’re really participating in those top levels. There are also times where the CIO will come into the conversation, even from a support or management perspective. If someone has an issue within the client organization and someone within the IT group is saying, “Wait, I can solve that.”

Oftentimes, they’ll know the direction to go but the loop that passed the CIO to say, “Is this consistent with that we’re trying to do for an overall strategy? I don’t want to go in a direction that’s not consistent with what the leadership is trying to achieve.”

Nick: What makes a good CIO? What sort of skills do they bring to the table?

Chad: Speaking for Aldridge, the CIOs have technical backgrounds but also management executive backgrounds. A typical CIO, we’re taking in an IT industry overall, has usually gone through a support role. They’ve usually gone into a manager role, managing other people providing support. Sometimes they’ve progressed up to a director role, but usually they have that executive level experience.

These are people that are comfortable participating at the table with a CEO or president, or a business owner, the principals of the organization, and having high-level conversations that tier without getting stuck down in the weeds of the individual technical implementations. They then take that information, synthesize it and turn it into the actual strategies, designs and architectures that make the organization move forward.

Nick: What would be some differences between out CIO offering versus maybe other CIOS, or internal CIOs at large companies?

Chad: Internal CIOs at large companies are great for the companies that have that economic scale and that makes sense. For companies that are smaller where maybe they don’t have that role dedicated inside, but they feel like they’re getting that or some similar name service from another provider, at least what I’ve seen in conversations is that it’s rare to see the level of engagement that we really bring to the table with that to really understand what we’re trying to accomplish.

It’s not about products. It’s not about technology solutions. If the conversation shifts to products or technology solutions, it’s the wrong conversation. It’s not a CIO conversation at that point. It’s really about what is the business trying to achieve? What is the business trying to accomplish? What are the things that the business is trying to overcome? Then applying our expertise and knowledge at that executive level to be able to say, “I think we can solve that if we did this, this and this. Let’s consider this.”

Nick: Thanks for joining us again for another Tech Talk. This has been a great discussion. Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about the CIO offering that Aldridge has. If you want more information, feel free to reach out to us on our website. We’ll see you on the next Tech Talk.

About Aldridge

At Aldridge, our team of IT professionals provides your business with the resources it needs to reach its potential. We put customer service first and deliver support and strategic planning that effectively manages your IT. Our approach relieves you of the hassle of technology management so you can focus on running your business. Contact an Aldridge representative today to learn more about how a CIO can help reach your business reach its goals.