Peppard, Edwards, and Lambert (2011) in their article “Clarifying the Ambiguous Role of the CIO” discuss the evolving role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the challenges they face in defining and performing their responsibilities effectively. The authors point out that the CIO role has been subject to multiple interpretations, which have been further complicated by the varying expectations of different stakeholders. The authors argue that these ambiguities and expectations have resulted in a lack of clarity about the CIO’s role and responsibilities within an organization.
Peppard et al. identify two fundamental roles for the CIO – the “Technology Steward” and the “Business Strategist” – and discuss the tensions that arise between these two roles. The authors note that the Technology Steward role involves ensuring the efficient operation and delivery of technology services within an organization. On the other hand, the Business Strategist role involves identifying opportunities to use technology to achieve business objectives and creating strategic plans for technology investments.
The authors argue that while the CIO needs to fulfill both roles, the emphasis on one role over the other depends on the organization’s needs and culture. The authors provide a framework to help CIOs navigate these tensions and clarify their role and responsibilities, including developing a shared understanding of the CIO role with key stakeholders, defining the CIO’s scope of responsibility, and clarifying the CIO’s relationship with other senior executives.
Overall, the article highlights the challenges CIOs face in navigating the ambiguous and evolving nature of their role and provides guidance on how to clarify and align their responsibilities with organizational goals.