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  • #2264083

    CIO vs IT Manager


    by jbakaev ·

    What is the difference between CIO and IT Manager?
    Are they 2 different job titles for the same position (head of information technology group within an organization)? Does someone have a clear job description that can tell the difference?

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    • #2504595

      Size does matter

      by roger99a ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      You can’t be an Admiral without a fleet and if you’re managing a handful of Help Desk guys you aren’t a CIO. It would probably also reflect your location on the pecking order. If you report directly to anyone other than the CEO you’re probably not a CIO. Then there’s the pay scale. A CIO would make much more than a Director or Manager.

      • #2493034

        CEO is the key person for decison

        by engrnazmul ·

        In reply to Size does matter

        The main problem is if non IT background CEO than they are always try to cut IT budget.

      • #2493015

        The One Thing

        by rothrd ·

        In reply to Size does matter

        While not IT-specific, Marcus Buckingham’s book “One Thing You Need to Know” does a good job at distinguishing managers vs. leaders, including business’s need for both. The book’s a good read, but in short, managers play chess – they manipulate tasks & people (based on their strengths) to get optimal results. Leaders quench people’s fears about the future by giving them a tangible vision of where the company is going.

      • #2567655

        Org Structure & Size

        by mnjenga ·

        In reply to Size does matter

        I’m an IT/BT Director at an ICT SME/B and report directly to the CEO. I have seen setups where an IT manager reports directly to the CEO…..!! So I do agree that it does depend on where you fall on the pecking order which is dependent on how an Org is structured. This also does bring to light the issue of the nomenclature adapted by an Org for the various posts in the sense that the post of the IT Boss could be named CIO,Manager,Director etc and still play the same role. What I have personally found out is that when IT Leadership reports directly to the CEO and is included in executive/management planning and decision making then ICT/BT gets to have key input in the strategic direction of the Org which is pertinent in todays economy. Recently I have observed that Large enterprises seem to be more inclined to designating the IT Boss the CIO title and in most places this character will report to the CEO. I don’t have an issue with titles per se ,to me what matters is how and whether IT Leadership is positioned to play a strategic role in business.

    • #2504502

      Business Vs. Technology

      by stephendelkelley ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      CIO’s tend to focus on how technology can serve business strategy. CIOs focus on planning and controlling issues. IT Managers are basically middle managers that focus on performance issues. They take more of a leadership position. IT managers deal more with making sure the system is up and running and that the IT people such as network admins and help desk folks are doing there jobs. It’s not the perfect answer. Hope this helps

      • #2490619

        Well Stated…

        by todder ·

        In reply to Business Vs. Technology

        I would add that CIO’s also look to the future and the managers are more in the now. CIO’s also interact with employees outside of the IT department and managers mostly deal internally. As was mentioned previously, size of the organization does factor into things as well.

      • #2492972

        Strategy over Break Fix

        by mmolinaro ·

        In reply to Business Vs. Technology

        I’ve been in both positions. The differences are reactive vs. proactive and strategy vs. break fix. An IT Manager is only as good as the C person he/she reports to. If it is the CFO he’she is. for the most part, generally doomed to a break fix and reactive career. Reporting to a COO or CEO the IT manager may have leverage regarding Service level’s and may be able to persuade them periodically in the “right” direction.

        A CIO has a completely different set of marching orders. The CIO is on an equal or in some cases higher seat in the overall command structure. In this case technology has the ability to drive the business with a vision. With astrategy and a vision teh IT staff now have worthwhile tasks and sink their teethj into and will actually over deliver. Ultimately this allows the business to actually grow both in terms of profit and employee mind share.

        The CIO will also have the ability to delegate the proper tasks to the properly educated and trained people. This is important as the the other C’s in the group have to learn how to run technology operations on the fly. A CIO already comes equipped with the knowledge and tools.

        Simple issues are solved easily or simply and don’t become stumbling blocks for IT and business. The simple issues tend to give the CFO, COO or CEO a hard time when trying to make decisions as they simply con not wrap their arms around the issue visually or intellectually as they don’t “really” get how entrenched the IT stuff is into their business. A mole hill becomes a mountain and the overall strategy and vision die with a whimper as everyone will be pushed into a reactive mode.

        A CIO also understands how to speak different professional languages where as an IT manager may not and usually has not mastered these skills as yet. The CIO can assist uin growing the IT Manager to gain and grasp these traits.

        Finally, a CIO understands how to incentivise each of the other C people to allow his needs to come to fruition.

        These are my thoughts on the matter….

        • #2492955


          by tk2005 ·

          In reply to Strategy over Break Fix

          Need I say more?? This is perfect. Now the vision of how to get this whole concept into a company!!?? I am in a growing company and we are trying to work towards that goal. The C’s that do exist (CIO doesn’t at this point) simply do not understand the IT world and this often puts us in reactive mode. We are working very hard to steer our growth to putting IT in a more proactive position within the company. Any helpful hints on this is always greatly appreciated.

        • #2492946

          Get this book, read it, then preach it

          by jp_the_it_guy ·

          In reply to Perfect!!!

          I have been casually investigating ITIL as I’m building the IT department for my company. I came across: “The Visible Ops Handbook: Implementing ITIL in 4 Practical and Auditable Steps” and it is the best short book on IT management that I have found.

          For my organization, we switched from development mode to production mode last May and immediately stopped making changes outside of the scheduled maintenance periods. As a result we have an exceptionally stable environment and I spend at most 4 hours a month reacting to broken systems.

          Over the past 8 months my focus has been building out the infrastructure for reporting metrics so that I can establish baselines and manage with measurable business requirements.

          That book very well expresses the steps we’ve employed. Though I found it just a couple of months ago, I’ve given it to my business owner so that he will better know what I’m doing and why.

      • #2492928

        Captain of the IT Dept

        by chekuriv ·

        In reply to Business Vs. Technology

        CIO will evaluate the technology with business needs and Managers will ensure the successful Implementation of technology and its performance.

    • #2486356

      2 different persons

      by jbakaev ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      so are they 2 differnt persons and 2 different jobs or it is either one of the 2 .
      will the IT manager report to the CIO ?
      is there any clear job description for each title?

      • #2491690

        more exactly

        by highlander718 ·

        In reply to 2 different persons

        as previously stated, a small IT team (5-10 people – to be found in small-medium companies)) will usualy be led by an IT manager. When it comes to large corporations with a large IT structure (50+), different IT departments )communication, security, networking, helpdesk, programming, erp …) you have a CIO overloking the corporate policy, corporate objectives, and each of the mentioned teams would be led by a manager or supervisor).
        Of course, a CIO has much more responsibility, much more complexity to handle.

        • #2490887


          by herot ·

          In reply to more exactly

          I think your reply is spot on, but another kind of CIO I’ve found is the ‘visionary’, ‘evangelist’, or tech ‘guru’. They tend to work in tech based companies, usually the architects of the product.

      • #2491628

        There’s no clear standard, depends upon org’s size

        by jp_the_it_guy ·

        In reply to 2 different persons

        In a small IT department (<5), typically in a small company (<100), it realy doesn't matter what title is given to the guy in charge of IT. Still, the most appropriate title is IT Manager, or possible, if he's been there for a while, Director. However, the Director is title is mostly honorary, or necessary for political reasons.

        When you start getting into larger companies with multiple IT groups, then typcially each group will have its own Manager which reports to the Director of IT. This group is likely to report the Chief Financial Office, or whatever title is given to the person who manages the accounting side. If the politics play out differently, they could report to the President and/or CEO.

        At the enterprise level, where there are at least dozens of employees in IT, among many different departments, usually requiring multiple Directors to manage the Managers, then there is likely also an executive. This will either be a Vice-President of Technology, who will report to the CFO, or possibly the CEO, or an actual Chief Information Officer. They may also have a Chief Technology Officer, and a Chief Security Officer, and software development firms will usually have a Chief Software Architect (see Microsoft).

        At this level, the responsibitly of the manager in an IT group is to manage the personel in that specific group. A Director manages the managers and handles budgetary duties. An executive or a "C" type is supposed to take the most strategic view of the organization, clearly understand the business requirements and facilitate interaction with the other departments. They'll set the agenda for strategic projects and technologies and significantly influence the selection of vendors.

        Note that it is only in the largest organizations that it gets broken out like this. You get the specialization because there are so many people. In the smaller organizations, each person has to perform multiple types of duties which are usually split out in the larger organizations. So a small company's IT manager will have to do things that a larger company would only use a CIO for just because they are the only person to do them.

        • #2490819

          Well said

          by dean.owen ·

          In reply to There’s no clear standard, depends upon org’s size

          The size of an organization certainly does make the difference. In our shop we have four managers reporting to the CIO. Previously we had a Director and only one manager (me) reporting to him. The director was close to the day-to-day action, while the CIO spends a lot of time in meetings with other C’s.

        • #2492935

          You’re on the right Track

          by breirden ·

          In reply to There’s no clear standard, depends upon org’s size

          Size does have an impact. But don’t get confused by role titles. A CIO is a role title that expresses the general area of expertise that a person has responsibility for and the spere of influence the person should be operating in. A rank, or position title such as VP or Director expresses where that person sits in the organization relative to the CEO. The combination of these two titles provides in indication of where the person sits and the value the organization places on the CIO role.

          A CIO can report to any number of organizational positions, but clearly the most influential position is the CEO. If the CIO reports to any other position, one would question whether he/she is truly a CIO or was merely given the title to attract a more qualified candidate.

          If an IT Manager, or Director is the highest ranking IT employee in the organization, reports to the CEO and Makes all the relevant IT strategy decisions, then he/she is functioning as the CIO.

          I would equate this to the Accounting Manager. If the highest ranking accounting person is the Manager of Accounting, reports the the CEO, and makes strategic financial decisions then I would suggest they are functioning as the CFO.

          The CIO is the newest, and least understood of all the CXO role titles. The key to being titled “CIO”, in my opinion, is having a peer relationship with other strategic decision makers in the organization, and that requires a reporting relationship to the CEO.

      • #2490832

        CIO v MIS

        by jerome.koch ·

        In reply to 2 different persons

        Generally speaking, a CIO manages a corporate’s IT efforts. The CIO usually reports to the CFO, or sometimes the CEO. Corporate enterprises require millions of dollars in IT investment, and usually employ dozens of IT personnel.

        An IT director is usually found in smaller to midsize enterprises. Thier IT budgets are usually in the hundreds of thousands and not 10s of millions. An IT Director can be both a working manager, or a pure manager. His staff can be a small as 4 or 5, or as large as a few dozen.

      • #2490759

        it’s rank structure

        by neon samurai ·

        In reply to 2 different persons

        Business, like military, uses a rank structure though it may not be as directly recognized as the military. Generally:

        CIO reports to CEO
        Upper IT Managers reports to CIO
        Lower IT Managers report to Upper IT Managers
        Techies report to Lower IT Managers

        If you want to be a CIO, be a Techie or IT Manager and work your way up the ladder.

      • #2490543

        C-level v. department-specific role

        by bigskysolutions ·

        In reply to 2 different persons

        C-level positions are business driven, and management of information is not confined to IT, but also contains communication strategies, hard copy information, information flow, security, organisation, auditing, and many more activities beyond the scope of IT management. This not to diminish the vital role of heading an effective IT department, but the positions are clearly divided between accountability (CIO) and responsibility (IT).

    • #2486355

      2 different persons

      by jbakaev ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      so are they 2 differnt persons and 2 different jobs or it is either one of the 2 .
      will the IT manager report to the CIO ?
      is there any clear job description for each title?

      • #2490845

        CIO vs. IT Manager

        by jerry b ·

        In reply to 2 different persons

        In a large organization, the CIO and the IT Manager are different people. In fact, the CIO may have many IT Managers reporting to many IT Directors, depending on the scope of duties within the organization. CIOs in large organizations are responsible for planning, strategy and alignment with the business. IT Managers are typically responsible for just one area (sometimes more) – like programming, operations, support, training, etc.

        In a small organization, CIOs typically do not exist. Planning and strategy may be performed by an IT Manager or IT Director who typically wear many different hats and perform multiple functions, not just one or two.

      • #2492853

        Strategic focus, direction and planning vs executing the plan

        by rbell ·

        In reply to 2 different persons

        The CIO is the person who formulates the strategic focus,direction and planning for the entire enterprise.

        The IT manager is responsible for executing his piece of the enterprise. Most IT managers are not responsible for more than his/her local organization.

        Most CIOs report to the CEO or President and have absolute authority and responsibility. IT managers report to the CIO and take direction from him/her.

        • #2508701

          CIO involves a higher business perspective than an IT Manager

          by saxist ·

          In reply to Strategic focus, direction and planning vs executing the plan

          In general I agree with rbell, the problem is that most companies does not have a size and and staff that merits and justify this two positions. Regarding corporation with dozens (or hundreds) of people working on IT environment and several branches, the IT Manager should be focused on implementing IT strategies and keeping level of services at desired quality, while CIO should be defining those IT strategies and aligning them to greatest goals of the business.

          Please take a look at the Tech Republic Article at

          Best regards,

    • #2490880

      CIO vs IT Manager

      by kimrru ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      Besides the fact that a CIO makes about $100,000 US Dollar more than an IT Manager, the CIO is expected to understand more of the business process of an organization and make IT decisions based on those processes. That’s the quickie answer.

      • #2490872

        Strategic vs Tactical

        by mjongeward ·

        In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

        An IT Manager will build a road through a forest on time and within budget

        The CIO makes sure the road is in the right forest

    • #2490866

      Yes the Job Decriptions are different

      by rclark2 ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      I don’t have a good set at the moment as we are redesigning ours. But we recently hired a CIO for our Health System. The Director of IS operates at the director level. Which is fine for smaller shops. But when you start talking about enterprise wide initiatives and you are spending several million on software and maintenance each year, you need someone who is a peer of the C-Level decision makers who actually approve projects. Otherwise, you will have integration problems, contractual issues, and inefficiencies due to duplication of effort, waste of resources, and support problems with user and techs.

      Case in point. At the director level, a piece of departmental software is the best available for the department. The IS director has no choice but to approve it, because his/her peer is correct in stating that it is the best available to do the job for that department. At most, the director can look at other affected departments and limit the damage a poorly integrated software solution would cause.

      At a CIO level, the vision changes and while that department may need the software, it may not fit with the goal of the overall organization has for reducing maintenance costs, having a single supplier, or integrate with other departments at the level needed for overall efficiency. The CIO would work at the C-Level to minimize the impact of a less effective departmental solution so that the enterprise solution can reap economies of both scale and integration.

    • #2490846

      Definitely different positions

      by mpasaa ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      CIOs should be what I call the “big picture” person. In other words, they should see the company’s long term plans, be able to convey technical concepts in business terms and basically act as sort of a liason between the technical folks and management.

      The IT Manager, on the the other hand, would be dealing with the day-to-day issues, implementations, security of the entire network, etc.. as well as attending meetings to disseminate some of the current projects which are ongoing and keep staff informed about issues that will affect them. I see the IT manager as one who oversees the technical staff doing the actual implementations, migrations, etc..

      Just my opinion. Actually, I’ve yet to work for any person calling them a CIO who actually helps the IT staff. Most seem to be no better than the rest of the non-technical management staff and, consequently, become another hurdle for the IT staff to overcome.


      • #2490814

        Ours is actually pretty good.

        by rclark2 ·

        In reply to Definitely different positions

        It took a long time for us to convince administration that we needed to spend the money to hire one.

        It took a lot of courage and logic to get them to agree that an IS background was worth more to the organization than another MBA wannabe.

        Then it took about a year of searching for just the right candidate. What we got was a CIO that had come up through the ranks and successfully done what we wanted in a much larger setting.

        So how did we find this jewel? We offered competative salary (almost), and an opportunity to set the adgenda on future growth. Like most upper management, it’s more about fulfillment than money.

        He is not so far removed from his roots that he has forgotten where he came from, and so has a slight bias towards IS, but at the same time, he lives in the management arena, so it doesn’t always go our way either.

        Which means that he bends over backwards for his peers when it doesn’t matter, and stands with us when it does. By doing so, his gives us a voice in the C-Level we didn’t have before and fosters customer satisfaction we couldn’t obtain on our own and gives management demonstrable responsiveness they felt they were missing.

        I don’t know what would have happened if we had gotten a stooge in here. But luckily, we had time and was able to weed out the chaff and selected the right guy for the job.

    • #2490812

      CIO vs IT manager

      by rsreeni ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      IT manager’s role is mainly for managing IT on line with business planning and strategy.

      Business strategy is discussed in a higher form than the IT manager level. So for that CIO should be a person in the top management level and should understand the Business well. His responsibility is to convert the Business strategy/Plan into an IT strategy and Plan and help the IT team to support the business according to that.


      Sreenivas Ravindran
      IT infrastructure Management

    • #2490732


      by gsg ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      IT Manager — Over IT
      CIO — Over many departments. In our organization, the CIO is over IT, Health Information Mangement, Transcription, Quality Assurance, and anywhere that health information may be aggregated or managed. In an odd move, she’s also over Human Resources.

      • #2490631

        Lets make it simple

        by bernie – the it guy with a tie ·

        In reply to Easy..

        There is a significant difference between the CIO and IT Manager.

        Manages all the IT department similar to a HR Manager manages HR. Anything IT related is controlled by the IT Manager.

        THE CIO
        Controlls the Data or Information within the organisation. Essentially the 1s & 0s. It is their responsibility to ensure the information gets to where it needs to go whether internally or externally to the company, electronically or hardcopy is irrelevant.

        In many companies the IT Manager is the CIO but larger companies the CIO could be a seperate dedicated position. The IT Manager and CIO are required to work closely together for the IT structure to be successful. One point that was raised earlier is that CIOs demand much more money than IT Manager’s.

    • #2490569

      Difference is in the focus

      by wg_hclim ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      The key difference is probably in the focus. An IT manager would probably have a more daily hence more ‘short-term’ or operational focus in terms of JD while the CIO would be more ‘long term’ or would have a more strategic focus in the deployment of ICT resources to meet the needs of the business.

    • #2490552

      When the IT Manager can’t find time to formulate strategy…

      by michael ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      ?you need a CIO (or IT director).

      If they can find time but can’t formulate strategy in line with business needs then they are a network technician.

      One problem is that the IT Manager role may not be at senior management level and they may be formulating a strategy without enough business knowledge. This is a fault of the organisations senior management, not the IT manager. To address this some organisations declare the person a CIO so they can be part of the senior management team but they are doing the same role as they were as IT Manager.

      So in general, there are no clear guidelines; it is all down to the individual organisation.

    • #2493036

      The Difference

      by jcomstock ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      In considering these titles and how I’ve seen them applied in various company sizes I would say it boils down to responsibility and scope.

      IT Managers operate in a more tatical manner, ensuring that services are avialable and managing projects.

      CIOs are more strategic in their focus in that they are establishing the vision for the IT component of the company based on an understanding of the business now and its plans.

    • #2493022

      Organisation Size

      by rubensds ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      Fundamentally the size of the organisation will greatly determine the need for a CIO. For example, an organisation that spans over many geographic locations, including other countries would probably have IT Managers managing the ‘satelite’ locations and the CIO would then be the person to steer the IT Managers to align them with the overall business strategy. Also, and again this depeneds on the organisation, the CIO has a better line of communication to the Executive Board and even the Board of Directors of an organisation. Having said this, it does mean that an IT Manager should not participate or develop strategic or tactical plans.

    • #2492964

      Operations Vs Strategy

      by drolfe ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      The IT Manager should be working at the operations level, which can be defined as handling day to day issues, managing new implementations, & sorting out employee issues
      The CIO should be working on strategies that align the business goals with IT Initiatives

    • #2492861

      Big differences exist

      by jchooyin ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      Generally, the CIO collaborates with the company’s leadership and customers, planning (tracking technologies, creating architecture, setting IT budgets), overseeing projects and running IT operations.

      The IT Manager’s principle accountabilities include assisting the CIO in the management and direction setting for the enterprise’s application programming group including setting priorities, coordinating, and the reporting of group activities. The IT Manager is also responsible for the daily activities of the members of the enterprise application programming group.

      The IT Manager provides senior technical leadership to IT and the enterprise including being conversant with the future direction of enterprise systems, how that direction will impact the enterprise, and how future and current systems can be exploited for the benefit of the enterprise. Given the high level of technical leadership provided by the manager of systems, the manager will also serve as a source of documentation and standards to help direct the activities of It as a whole.

      Hope this helps.

    • #2492739

      My preception

      by dkwok ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      My company has changed and upgraded the Head of IT to CIO. The Head of IT used to be done more but now CIO is now thinking more… So, I think CIO is a thinking-hat but not an executor …

    • #2492439

      Simple – $$$$$$$$$$$

      by larrymartel ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager


    • #2492265

      Vision of IT in organization

      by pradeepmanani ·

      In reply to CIO vs IT Manager

      CIO has the responsibility of entire IT departement whereas IT manager is responsible for a partiular Domain like network, servers, voice, security etc. CIO makes the decision and approval considering the views of all vertical IT managers and consolidate the budgets of all verticals and interact with business head. Also CIO’s important function is to represent the overall vision for IT dept. and how it can value add in the growth of an organization. Hope this helps.

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