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These individuals are responsible for coordinating the flow of information within the company, not necessarily developing/choosing the technologies themselves (this role usually falls to the CTO, or chief technology officer). CIOs are therefore a hybrid of human resource manager and technological manager. They must not only understand how people use the technology, but help institute policies that will make the information flow at maximum efficiency.
What separates a successful CIO from a frenzied CIO?
As usual, communication is the key to most successful business operations. CIOs must spend equal amounts of time working with the technological options and working with their staff. As an example, a company that employs people who have a median age of 26 will probably have fewer difficulties associated with using new technologies, whereas a company with a median age of 45 may require more outreach and training. It’s also worth stating that different age groups have different generational methods of sharing information.
A group of millennials, for example, will necessarily communicate differently than a group of people who grew up prior to the advent of the internet. A savvy CIO will spend her time understanding the demographics of her work force in order to implement the best possible policies and strategies.
Then there is the issue of the technology itself. Many companies have opted for a communication system which incorporates elements of social media (a constant feed that allows everyone to see what’s being discussed) versus a more itemized or separate email communication system.
These systems usually also incorporate photo-sharing or other media exchanges that enable the rapid dissemination of complex information. A CIO should understand not only how these systems work, but also how the spread of information impacts decision-making and morale. This is a complicated question that has no blanket formula or approach. It will depend largely on how the company functions and the type of industry.
There is one underlying factor that all CIOs must adhere to: namely, whatever system is implemented, it must be broad enough to make all employees feel as if they are an important part of the company while still allowing enough discriminatory controls to enable top-level administrators to communicate privately when needed. It should encourage innovation and suggestion without detracting from the work-flow. In other words, managing the flow of information requires constant attention and dedication.
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