The Importance of the CEO/CIO Relationship

A strong CEO-CIO relationship supports an effective corporate strategy.
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If you are a chief executive officer or a chief information officer, your relationship with your colleagues in the executive suite is critical to the success of your business. By working together, you can align information-technology strategy with business strategy to achieve corporate goals. Together, you can make your employees more productive, improve the agility of your business and improve the return on your investment in IT.

IT for CEOs

    As a CEO, you must understand the contribution that information technology can make to your business. You’ve got to be familiar with technology trends and the use of technology to gain competitive advantage, according to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Your CIO can help you improve your understanding so that you can jointly develop strategies that use IT to improve competitive advantage. You will also be able to understand the significance of IT investments and calculate the potential business benefit. You don’t have to review every IT investment proposal in detail, according to “The Wall Street Journal.” But, you must be prepared to give your full support to IT initiatives that take your business forward.

Strategic IT

    If you are a CIO, it’s important to bring discussion of IT into the executive suite. IT departments are under pressure to deliver business benefits while reducing costs. You must be able to demonstrate the strategic importance of information technology so that your department receives the funding it needs. That means presenting the benefits of technology in business terms that other senior executives understand. You must work closely with the CEO and business unit leaders to understand their priorities and help them understand how they can use IT to achieve their goals.


    The relationship between the CEO and CIO must be based on understanding and trust. Although CEOs take the lead role in defining and implementing company strategy, they must involve CIOs in the important strategic decisions. Too often, CIOs have to find a way to support a strategy after decisions have been taken, according to “CIO” magazine.


    When CEOs and CIOs have a strong working relationship, the division between business and IT disappears. The IT department is no longer seen as an operational center; it becomes an integral part of the business, driving efficiency and growth. A good working relationship also helps the CEO make effective decisions that take account of the value IT can add.

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