The role of CIO has changed significantly in recent years. In many organizations, this position is a member of the executive team that oversees the information technology department. The CIO's objective is to improve a company's productivity by automating complex processes and ensuring that technological functionality supports the CEO's vision. In most cases, a CIO has a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, but some may require an advanced degree in business administration or another field.
The CIO has become more involved in the product-oriented side of the organization, which has increased the level of responsibilities for him. Rather than just managing the IT function, the CIO is now responsible for customer-facing products and services. These products and services must be reliable, secure, and easy to use. Because of the CIO's increased visibility, he has more responsibility than ever to ensure that everything is operating at maximum efficiency.
The CIO typically reports to the chief executive officer, but he or she may also report to a chief operating or financial officer. In the military, the CIO may be responsible for the security of the network. The role of CIO was first defined in 1981 by William R. Synnott, a former senior vice president at Bank of Boston, and William H. Gruber, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management.