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Double-duty CIOs take on promising futures

January 3, 2013 No Comments

A CIO that pulls double duty in other positions like CTO and COO is a phenomenon that is becoming increasingly common in small and medium-sized companies. While the main job of a CIO is to oversee all technology innovations for a business and look after the IT department, double duty CIOs may also have to focus on certain smaller technological issues or even oversee the general day-to-day operations of that company. While this is happening more and more, it isn’t necessarily happening just because certain businesses are trying to save money. There are a large number of benefits associated with having a double duty CIO.

The Cause

Many experts believe that CIOs performing two or more job functions is actually the natural evolution of the position. The very nature of certain small and medium-sized businesses require individuals in each position to have both extension technology backgrounds as well as the ability to apply that technology background to the operations side of the organization. Instead of attempting to hire multiple people that meet that criteria for each position, businesses are turning towards the strategy of hiring a single, highly qualified individual to achieve that goal. Having qualified individuals in these positions isn’t just recommended – it’s a necessity to insure the survival of the business.

The Effects

If a CIO wanted to implement a flash array storage strategy at a particular business, for example, they would likely have to get the approval of someone in another position before that change could go into effect. While the CIO would naturally be in the position to recognize how beneficial flash storage arrays could be, they would then have to convince a second person that the benefits are worth the investment. If a CIO is pulling double duty, the same person who recognizes the  need for change can also be the one to implement it. Overall, this can then lead to beneficial changes and strategy adoptions being implemented faster and in a much more efficient way than if separate people occupied the CIO, CFO, COO and CTO positions. Instead of four separate people agreeing on something before a change can be made, all it takes is the skill of a single individual.

With these types of important changes being recognized faster and implemented just as quickly, double duty CIOs are commonly leading to more productive working environments with both higher performance rates and larger revenue streams.

Another obvious benefit to small and medium-sized businesses is cost savings. Four separate people occupying the CIO, CFO, COO and CTO positions requires four separate salaries. With a CIO pulling double or even triple duty, the overall cost savings alone are more than worth the investment in a highly qualified individual willing to take on additional responsibilities.

The only real downside to a double duty CIO is one that may come up as the company continues to grow. As that small company turns into a medium-sized one, or as that medium-sized company turns into a large one, the total responsibility required for the position may become too great for a single individual. The company may eventually have to hire additional people to take on that workload, but the benefits of adopting the double duty CIO strategy in the beginning will still be felt for years to come as the company’s success continues to grow with its overall size.

About the author: Dawn Altnam lives and works in the Midwest, and she enjoys following the business tech world. After furthering her education, she has spent some time researching her interests and blogging of her discoveries often. Follow her on Twitter! @DawnAltnam


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