On Being CIO

I am about to leave for a photo and video shoot that be used alongside a story about an award I am receiving – the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal’s CIO of the year.

CIO stands for Chief Information Officer, and is often synonymous with the title CTO (Chief Technology Officer). While the explanation can be nuanced, I would say it can be generalized as the person in an organization responsible for making the technology choices needed to empower an organization to get work done more efficiently, effectively and accurately. This includes both computer hardware and software purchases, internal technology development and championing positive change in an organization.

While my title has never indicated that I am a CIO by any means, I have taken on many of the qualities of this role throughout my career. I stay on top of technology developments, I’m not afraid to evaluate new technologies, and I can easily summarize the positives and negatives of a technology in a matter of minutes.

In addition, by being a web developer for over 10 years, I especially understand how the underlying technology of the web works, as well as the database structure that powers most of our lives. The ability to understand how data is stored, accessed, and can be utilized to make decisions is a key part to the success of a chief information officer.

Preparing to be on camera talking about this role can be a little difficult, because this is an all encompassing role and there’s really no right or wrong answer. My only worry is that I get the definition wrong compared to my peers.

Then again, how can you be wrong when they already gave you the award?

Here are the questions and my answers as of now:

What is a CIO?

A CIO is the person in an organization responsible for making the technology choices needed to empower an organization to get work done more efficiently, effectively and accurately. This includes both computer hardware and software purchases, internal technology development and championing positive change in an organization.

What makes a good CIO?

A good CIO starts with being curious. They will want to know how everything works, have a strong understanding of technology and how to best apply it to organizations. They spend money wisely, balancing current needs with future investments. They don’t bring change to an organization too soon, but they should never be too late either. ¬†They should know what they don’t know and confide in others to round out their knowledge.

What do you do for fun outside of work?

I like to travel – I have been to 6 continents and only have Antarctica left. I enjoy photography, especially using photos to document my world travels. I love to cook with my wife, and we make cuisine from all over the world, all from scratch. In addition, I have built several websites for hobbies, expanding my knowledge in several industries that expand beyond the marketing and technology world.

Wish me luck! Although, by the time you read this, my ugly mug will be forever emblazoned on a giant memory card in the sky.

About Jeff Sauer

I started blogging in the year 2000, and go in spurts of inspiration followed by long dormancy. I love writing, and your comments keep me going, so comment!

Check out my Google Profile.

Comments

  1. Congrats Jeff. That’s awesome!

  2. Wow, sounds like a BFD!!!! Congrats, very exciting!