With the growing use of information technology and systems in organizations today, information systems have been used in supporting decision-making, operation and management. The chief information officer is the person who overlooks the use of information technology and computer systems in the organization to support organizational goals. The CIO is considered the most important person in the organization, as he is responsible for contributing and formulating strategies for the organization, thus controlling information and delegating decisions to employees.
The CIO also proposes the technology needed by the organization to execute its plans. The Role of CIO The role of CIO developed due the increasing awareness that information has to be managed just like other important resources. This required the CIO to plan, budget, and evaluate and use information in the most effective and efficient manner. The CIO had to understand both information management and IT, and therefore had to merge both of these to best suit the business priorities and challenges.
With businesses looking towards technology to reduce cost it was the job of the CIO to re-engineer and reconstruct information management. The CIO functions involve governance of the IT function, which is to organize the internal functions to serve the business. Measuring and managing the company’s IT expenditure, the CIO’s leadership role depends on his credibility for effectively managing IT resources (Broadbent, 2005).
The CIO is the main catalyst for business change as he works closely with other managers, while bringing new changes in business practices for the effective use of information and knowledge, he defines how employee are expected to use information regarding customers, products and services (LeadershipExpertise). The CIO is also seen as a major player in proposing business strategies, in which he defines how IT, information and people can be used for future success. He should therefore propose an IT system for employees for successfully achieving operational efficiency.
CIO’s must be able to have an impact on company’s actions, which can be done by positioning information and IT for other members to gain help from, providing ideas for cost control and benefits of automated information systems. The CIO’s contributions must be extended beyond the IT function to establish relevance to the company’s business activities, also highlighting the value of information, human resource, and IT as essential part of the operating model (Lean, 2003). Overstock Analysis
The CIO of overstock caused a great roar with his admittance of failure, as he wrote a memo to business partners regarding the failure of their information management software. The CIO was being fair to his job when he decided to let the people concerned know about the ongoing problems with their system. He went about discussing problems relating to inventory management and database handling. He associated the troubles to a necessary update which was required to deal with the problems in the software (Schuman, 2005).
The CIO of overstock was acting politically and also was being fair to his job. He wanted to prepare the business partners for the problems associated with the system; moreover he wanted to save his own reputation by not hiding information so that it does not backfire in future. He thought it was good organizational politics as he was acting in the best interest of the company, he provided information to the concerned people who can help him remedy the problem.
He may have believed that the business partners may help with the updates, or may finance a much more reliable system which may help fix the problem. When it comes to that whether it was good organizational politics then this type of behaviour may not be acceptable for large organizations such as Overstock. There should have been a more professional approach by the CIO, he should have made the CEO aware of the problem first, getting the CEO’s advice on the issue, and also telling him his plans to fix the problem.
Telling everyone about the problems faced by the company can have a very negative effect on the image of the company; it would have surely made other people related to the business like customers and business partners insecure about the future of the organization. This type of negative publicity can surely drive share prices down of the company. The CIOs responsibility is to control information and use it for the success of the organization, leaking such sensitive information is surely not encouraged.
It may also have had a negative impact on the customer opinion about the company, and may have made them and other potential customers wary of the business, as most of the business transactions are done online by overstock, with a crippled database online transactions may not be dealt with well. The advice for overstock CIO is that he should first assessed the situation himself along with other concerned professionals. The CIO should have encouraged other managers to give ideas and advices on how to remedy the situation.
With an agreed plan, he should have then set a line of action and should have delegated responsibilities to everyone working under him. Here the CIO’s leadership qualities are tested, the CIO taking the whole responsibility should himself head the plan, therefore motivating others to contribute in solving the problem. As Overstock’s revenue mostly comes from partners who help them ship out the orders of the sale that they make, and with direct revenues dropping $ 100000 in the first year, the CIO should have been less vocal on such a sensitive issue (Remond, 2005).
Overstock’s CIO identified that the system needed an upgrade, as CIO’s are seen important in decision making process and also initiating business plans; he must have used his skills in convincing board members to initiate the upgrade before the problem got bigger. Conclusion Changes in IT are rapid in the modern world, growing the burden on CIO’s to make quick and feasible decisions. The span of function has grown for the CIO, making him an integral part of the organization. Seeing the problems at overstock we can rightly judge that one wrong decision by the CIO can cause great effect on the company.
CIO’s should therefore be given a team of professionals with the same area of expertise, encouraging discussions and exchange of ideas, so that the CIO can be helped in making the right decision, the final decision should be taken by the CIO but a helping hand from others may just reduce the pressure in the CIO. Overstocks CIO fell under pressure, being honest to his job was a good decision but he should have thought of the consequences. A much professional approach was required, but this could help the CIO learn from the mistake.
The challenge now is that the company and the CIO should design a plan which should make sure that such problems do not occur in future. Controlling information is power, therefore it should be managed well (Finey, 2010). References Current and Future Challenges: Chief information officer. Leadership expertise. 8 pages. Retrieved August 11, 2010 from www. leadershipexpertise. com Carol Remond (2005, Oct, 8) Overstock V. P. on leave after technical glitch. Retrieved August 11, 2010 from http://www. deseretnews.
com/article/615156242/Overstock-vp-on-leave-after-technical-glitch. html Evan Schuman (2005, August, 26) The CIO who admitted too much. Retrieved August 5, 2010 from http://www. cioinsight. com/c/a/Retail/The-CIO-Who-Admitted-Too-Much/1/ Russ Finey n. d. The politics of information and projects. Retrieved August 5, 2010 from http://www. itmweb. com/essay008. htm Broadbent, Marianne and Kitzes, Ellen (2005). The new CIO leader: setting the agenda and delivering results. Harvard Business Press Lane, Dean (2003). CIO wisdom: The best practises form Silicon Valley. Prentice Hall