The chief information officer, or CIO, oversees all computer and other information technology systems in a company. The job requires the CIO to frequently analyze the company's goals and create plans to integrate new technology or use existing equipment to help meet the goals. The CIO must do this while keeping within a budget. Although the CIO is usually a key officer in large companies, there can be disadvantages to having one in small or medium-size firms.
Most CIOs begin their careers in the information technology departments. When a worker is promoted to CIO, his role shifts from solving day-to-day problems to achieving long-term goals. This can cause a strain on budgets in companies with small IT departments because the CIO's former troubleshooting role still needs to be filled. A better choice for small to medium-size companies may be to do without a CIO and contract with an IT specialist when new systems are needed.
Lack of Strategic Planning Skills
A large part of the CIO's role involves strategic planning. But as recently as 10 years ago, strategic planning was not a skill taught in IT schools. A CIO might be hired because of his track record in fixing IT problems, but still lack the business skills needed to achieve long-term goals.
The CIO has little time to directly oversee the IT staff. In small companies, essential tasks such as training may be handed off to members of the IT staff who already feel they are overworked. The mounting responsibilities can cause IT staff members to resent the CIO, reducing morale and efficiency in the workplace.