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Chief Information Officer (CIO) or Information Technology (IT) Director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals. Generally, the CIO reports to the chief executive officer, chief operating officer or chief financial officer. In military organizations, they report to the commanding officer.
Information technology and its systems have become so important that the CIO has come to be viewed in many organizations as the key contributor in formulating strategic goals for an organization. The CIO manages the implementation of the useful technology to increase information accessibility and integrated systems management. As a comparison, where the CIO adapts systems through the use of existing technologies, chief technology officer develops new technologies to expand corporate technological capabilities. When both positions are present in an organization, the CIO is generally responsible for processes and practices supporting the flow of information, whereas the CTO is generally responsible for technology infrastructure.
The prominence of the CIO position has greatly risen as information, and the information technology that drives it, has become an increasingly important part of the modern organization. Many CIOs are adding additional c-level titles to reflect the growing importance of technology in successfully running companies; this trend is referred to as the CIO-plus. The CIO may be a member of the executive committee of an organization, and/or may often be required to engage at board level depending on the nature of the organization and its operating structure and governance environment. No specific qualifications are intrinsic of the CIO position, though the typical candidate may have expertise in a number of technological fields - computer science, software engineering, or information systems. Many candidates have Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Management degrees. More recently CIOs' leadership capabilities, business acumen and strategic perspectives have taken precedence over technical skills. It is now quite common for CIOs to be appointed from the business side of the organization, especially if they have project management skills.
In 2012, Gartner Executive Programs conducted a global CIO survey and received responses from 2,053 CIOs from 41 countries and 36 industries.  Gartner reported that survey results indicated that the top ten technology priorities for CIOs for 2013 were analytics and business intelligence, mobile technologies, cloud computing, collaboration technologies, legacy modernization, IT management, customer relationship management, virtualization, security, and enterprise resource planning.
Typically, a CIO is involved with driving the analysis and re-engineering of existing business processes, identifying and developing the capability to use new tools, reshaping the enterprise's physical infrastructure and network access, and with identifying and exploiting the enterprise's knowledge resources. Many CIOs head the enterprise's efforts to integrate the Internet into both its long-term strategy and its immediate business plans. CIO's are often tasked with either driving or heading up crucial IT projects which are essential to the strategic and operational objectives of an organisation. A good example of this would be the implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system which typically has wide-ranging implications for most organizations. The CIO is evolving into a role where he/she is creating and monitoring business value from IT assets, to the point where corporate strategist Chris Potts suggests in the novel FruITion that the Chief Information Officer (CIO) be replaced with Chief Internal Investments Officer (CIIO).
Another way that the CIO role is changing is an increased focus on service management. As SaaS, IaaS, BPO and other more flexible value delivery techniques are brought into organizations the CIO usually functions as a 3rd party manager for the organization. In essence, a CIO in the modern organization is required to possess business skills and the ability to relate to the organization as a whole, as opposed to being a technological expert with limited functional business expertise. The CIO position is as much about anticipating trends in the market place with regard to technology as it is about ensuring that the business navigates these trends through expert guidance and proper strategic IT planning that is aligned to the corporate strategy of the organization.