CIO Responsibilities and Challenges

  This report describes (1) the responsibilities of CIOs and their reporting relationships, (2) the current CIOs’ professional backgrounds and their tenures, and (3) what the CIOs viewed as their major challenges.  To address these objectives, a questionnaire was administered — covering 13 information and technology management areas, specifically IT/IRM strategic planning, IT capital planning and investment management, information security, IT/IRM human capital, information collection/paperwork reduction, information dissemination, records management, privacy, statistical policy and coordination, information disclosure, enterprise architecture, systems acquisition, development and integration, and e government initiatives — to the CIOs of the 27 major federal departments and agencies. Some highlights of the survey results:

  • Only 19 of 27 CIOs surveyed report to their agency heads. However, views were mixed among current and former officers on whether such a direct reporting relationship was important.
  • All of the CIOs had responsibility for five areas, including enterprise architecture and IT investment management. However, two of these areas—information disclosure and statistics—were outside the purview of more than half of the officers.
  • Agency CIOs come from a wide variety of professional and educational backgrounds, but they almost always have IT or IT-related work or educational experience.
  • The median tenure of a federal CIO has been about 2 years; in contrast, both current CIOs and former agency IT executives most commonly cited 3 to 5vyears as the time they needed to become effective
  • Current CIOs reported that they faced several major challenges, particularly in implementing effective IT management, obtaining sufficient and relevant resources, communicating and collaborating internally and externally, and managing change.


Documents are in common file formats such as Microsoft Word (doc), Powerpoint (ppt), Excel (xls,csv,xlsx), and Adobe pdf. 1

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