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chief integration officer (CIO)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

A chief integration officer (CIO) is a corporate executive in charge of ensuring the coordination of all interacting systems within the enterprise and its extended environments. That coordination involves not only information systems but people, ideas and processes as well.

The chief integration officer may be a separate position within the C-suite or may be an augmentation of the chief information officer's role. The chief information officer (which is what CIO has long stood for) is in charge of IT strategy and the computer systems required to support an enterprise's objectives and goals.

The CIO's job has become more complex as a result of trends such as cloud computing, IT consumerization, workforce mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT), which introduce many new systems that must be integrated with business systems and accommodated in business policies and practices. To optimize IT operations, a CIO must ascertain essential points of connection among all elements and establish and oversee policies, procedures and processes for their integration.

According to technology management expert Colin Beveridge, the function and value proposition of the CIO is:

To ensure that their business is internally and externally coherent and congruent, through the effective integration of all business systems and processes with other stakeholders: whether they be individuals, corporate partners or statutory bodies.

Increasingly, the position of chief integration officer is considered an evolution of the original CIO job. The (new) CIO role also has much in common with the job of the chief digital officer (CDO), whose job focuses less on running infrastructure and more on creating the procedures required to manage that infrastructure. As such, the position interfaces between the more technology-specific jobs and business management. Within the corporate structure, the chief technology officer (CTO) might report to the chief integration officer, while the chief integration officer reports directly to the CEO.

According to some industry experts, the next evolution of the term CIO is likely to be chief innovation officer.

See also: chief process and innovation officer (CPIO)

This was last updated in April 2017

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