chief information officer

What is the role of the Chief Information Officer?

New technologies, in this case the Internet, are giving rise to a number of professions that did not exist 20 years ago. The Chief Information Officer or CIO is part of a long list. This manager plays a key role in a world where companies essentially base their growth on digital. Here is a new chapter on digital professions.

The Chief Information Officer, a “geek” director

Commonly called information systems director in France, the CIO bears a great responsibility. The Chief Information Officer is above all an ace in digital technologies. At engineering level or above, this person’s mission is to manage digital communication and everything related to IT. This technician also wears the manager’s hat.

The information systems director has seen his job evolve significantly since the 2000s. Currently, this informed technocrat must analyze how to better take advantage of the digital tools and means of communication available. He devotes a good part of his time to technological monitoring so that his company is up to date with the latest discoveries.

The mission of the IOC evolves over time

The CIO name has existed since the 1980s. At the time, the CIO practiced a technical profession. The profession is more akin to that of network manager. Indeed, it was necessary to manage Ethernet and servers internally. The person operated solo or with a few assistants. They were also in charge of setting up databases and communication channels such as Intranet, fax or minitel.

It was from 2010 that the CIO profession took a leap. The freedom from the server, the birth of WiFi and especially the appearance of Big Data completely changes the situation. The Chief Information Officer must now deal with high-speed Internet and the Cloud after having played for a long time with ADSL and floppy disks. The high-tech ace finally takes on a real mission: keeping his company at the cutting edge of technology. He was freed from network maintenance tasks and managed an entire team.

The main responsibilities of the CIO in 2021

Not to be confused with the IT operations manager who is responsible for overall smooth running, the CIO must maintain the technological advantage. In collaboration with the network manager, he sets up internal communication channels. He is also the contact for messaging software, Drive and similar technologies. He hasn’t had much work since the Covid19 crisis when he had to take up a challenge: continuing to be productive while remaining geographically dispersed.

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The most successful companies mostly have a CIO. Moreover, the smallest structures also have their CIO. The latter must work together with other technicians and front office staff to make the startup reachable by all existing technological means. He must implement commercial management and customer relations software. In some cases, it was necessary to implement an entire platform in collaboration with an IT project manager.

A free training course, but many qualities required

The engineer profile turns out to be the minimum to qualify for the status of DSI director. This qualification allows you to manage a team of technicians with a license or a master’s degree. In all cases, a training course in IT or database management is practically obligatory. Currently, technology schools offer an Information Systems course. That said, a degree in business administration and innate coding skills open doors.

The CIO position requires many human qualities. To be a CIO, you need exceptional adaptability. The manager must in fact understand the functioning of a company within a fairly short period of time. This helps it develop a digital strategy. An ability to work in a team is also required. It will be necessary to join hands with network and maintenance managers. Perfect understanding with the administration is essential, even if it means bearing the pressure. The CIO must know how to popularize new technologies and be a good teacher.

Let’s talk a little about compensation


The qualifications and hard work of the Chief Information Officer allow him to earn up to €120,000 to €200,000 per year. This is the salary for the United States. It varies from one company to another. In any case, the CIO earns significantly more than an IT department head who receives around 180,000 euros in 12 months. These are gross figures in multinationals from which taxes will still have to be deducted.

Smaller companies prefer to call the CIO something other than CIO. This is more consistent in a limited liability company where the highest rank goes to the manager. That said, the missions remain the same. In his free time, the CIO can code to develop an in-house application that can help the company operate. In short, it’s far from being an easy job, with baldness and white hair guaranteed!