What Are The Responsibilities Of An Interim CIO?


an interim CIO meeting with his new team of executivesMany organizations rely on interim executives to help them navigate a period of transition or change, and fill a temporary gap in the organizational structure. In an age where business and technology are intertwined, no organization should be without a chief information officer (CIO) for too long, nor should they rush the hiring process.

The Primary Requirements Of An Interim CIO

The primary role of a CIO is to help set and lead an organization’s technology strategy, and manage the relationship between the business and IT. Interim CIOs differ from permanent CIOs as they are only engaged by companies on a temporary basis, usually around three to six months or until a permanent CIO transitions into the position.

Temporarily Fill The Role Of A Permanent CIO

The primary objective of hiring an interim CIO is to fill the role of a permanent CIO. This means that, at the end of the specified timeframe, the interim CIO is replaced by a full-time CIO.

There are a number of reasons why a business may hire an interim CIO, such as the departure of the current CIO, an M&A transaction, or the implementation of a major IT system that requires specialized expertise. During their employment as an interim executive, the CIO is responsible for all aspects of the business’s information technology and systems.

Drive Innovation And Promote Digital Transformation

an interim CIO driving innovation for his new organizationMany businesses call in an interim CIO when big changes are on the horizon. These expert technology leaders can deliver fresh thinking and a unique perspective to help the company reach its business objectives in a more effective manner.

Interim CIOs are tasked with driving innovation decisions and aligning processes and technology to best support the business. An interim CIO may be expected to bring forth a new vision for the IT organization or use existing resources to carry out an established IT strategy. In either case, these professionals aim to make technology a strategic asset for the company.

Improve IT Infrastructure And Processes

IT infrastructure management involves many important elements, including the management of devices, policies, processes, workforces and sensitive information. Interim CIOs are often responsible for taking control of a business’s IT environment as a critical component of operations.

With help from a skilled interim CIO, an improvement in IT infrastructure and processes can help a company make smarter IT decisions and better track IT environment performance. Businesses gain the information needed to determine the best time to change or upgrade their IT systems and how to mitigate certain technology risks.

Implement Cybersecurity Best Practices And Inform Employees

Employees are on the front lines of information security. Without the proper cybersecurity policies in place, companies may encounter an increased risk of security breaches and data loss. Interim CIOs can help companies develop and implement cybersecurity best practices to keep business data and networks safe and secure.

One best practice is cybersecurity training for employees. Educating staff on how to identify suspicious activity and protect against cybersecurity threats can prevent confidential information from falling into the wrong hands. Best practices may include a variety of strategies, such as avoiding unknown emails, using strong password protection, enabling firewall protection and connecting to secure Wi-Fi.

Assist With Pre- And Post-M&A Integrations

two business owners shaking hands after a successful business mergerMany businesses see the value in bringing an interim CIO into both pre- and post-M&A integration meetings and processes. When M&A transactions experience a lack of system integration planning, they can ultimately fail. Leveraging the expertise of an interim CIO can help ensure that companies that inherit new IT systems can effectively align these technologies after a merger or acquisition.

Interim CIOs should be involved in IT system integration planning as soon as possible so that they can get a jump start on aligning the new organization’s IT departments, procedures, processes and systems.

Ensure A Smooth Transition Between Them And A Permanent CIO

Interim CIOs can get their permanent counterpart up to speed on changes that have been implemented and strategies that are still in the works.

Many companies choose to hire a permanent CIO several months before making a formal announcement, allowing ample time for the new CIO to shadow the interim CIO, gradually learn more about the business and take on more responsibilities. This can be a more relaxed way of transitioning the permanent CIO into their role.

Speak With Hartman Executive Advisors For More Information

There is a high demand for interim CIOs and the reason is clear. These seasoned IT executives are able to quickly enter their role and provide the leadership needed to keep the engines running. To learn more about the requirements of an interim CIO or to speak with an experienced business strategy consultant, contact the professionals at Hartman Executive Advisors today.


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