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Just like a president is the head of a country, a Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the person in charge of the Information Technology and IT solutions department in an organization. He speaks on behalf of everyone in the department and gives opinions, suggestions and instructions on the usage of new technology. He addresses the needs of all those who work under him and departmental matters that need solutions.


Mark Hennessy is the CIO at the world’s largest computer company IBM. Before being selected he was the General Manager in charge of the sales and marketing. He never took a career in IT but serving the company diligently for over 27 years; he has had the opportunity to interact with many people in the IT sector and in the process learnt how the technology business works. He is responsible for ensuring that the operations of IBM are superb both in dealing with their employees as well as their clients.

CIO’s Roles

The roles played by any CIO are very crucial as the end results of the decisions passed by them will be reflected by consumers’ attitudes towards the company’s products.

 Mark Hennessy’s roles at IBM

            He is a person with strong leadership skills otherwise he would not have been in such a great moreover responsible position. He leads and is lead and his pride lies in creating a proper working environment at IBM that enhances effective communication methods and generation of new ideas (Gordon 13). His general roles include staff orientation and education and ensuring targets are achieved (Schubert 46). Other roles are outlined below:

o   Negotiator

The world is fast becoming a global village due to technological improvements which has contributed to social networking and business improvements. Hennessey’s work at IBM is to ensure that the link between business and technology is sustained. He is updated on the sales needs and business cycles which ensures proper planning for necessary materials and services. As a negotiator he ensures that these costs and benefits are leveled out through negotiations with suppliers and his experience with sales and marketing products for IBM, this role is made easier as he has an idea of what is expected(Baschab, et al, 122).

o   Networker

A CIOs role is to create avenues for better business opportunities and creating a rapport with clients and prospective business investors. Hennessey’s work at IBM is to identify opportunities and tap them. He has dealt with many people prior to being appointed CIO therefore he can tell what is needed in IBM. He ensures continual contact with important persons especially professional consultants in the business either personally or via a qualified person so as to know the products to purchase, from who and where (Schubert, 32-60).

Talent Scout
IBM does not need people who are good in doing their work. It requires excellent and highly trained personnel with zeal to better themselves. Hennessey is therefore responsible in making sure that the best in the field are recruited and that employees are regularly trained.

o   He also ensures that they address customer needs by responding to their questions

and rectify their mistakes to suit consumer needs.

The importance of a CIO

In management

A CIO is important in management because they make decisions and formulate a plan of activities which they use in delegating duties to employees under them. In search for solutions they can consult from other sources to avoid discarding good ideas or making poor decisions (Luftman 221).

In the Organization

The CIO is someone who knows how the business operates hence they links the IT department with other departments and branches and make sure that they work harmoniously in delivering good services. He also sits at board meetings and his contribution in the meeting ensure smooth running of the business.

In Technology

            New inventions will never take place if there is no support in the form of funding. A CIO therefore ensures that fresh ideas and those who carry out research are supported both financially and through training.

Future Role of a CIO

As the world progresses to greater heights, the roles played by the CIOs will continue to change so as to accommodate new products and services. They will be held accountable for a lot of things that happen under their watch. Their roles will be diverse in terms of dealing with other things other than and technology. The challenges faced may be many but improved skills and wisdom will enable then to tackle problems. (Broadbent, et al.1, 75)


Mark Hennessey’s role at IBM is a reflection of the tough yet fulfilling work undertaken by other CIOs in other organizations to ensure proper running and effective delivery of services in their places of work. To remain on top of the IT business, CIOs will have to be wise enough to focus on the production of high standard products, building and cementing business relationships with clients while ensuring every part of the world has access to the best technology offered by them. They will further ensure that people understand the role they play and understand the benefits of technology as a business (Lutchen 2003).

Works cited page

Baschab, John, Jon, Piot and Nicholas Carr, G. The Executive’s Guide to Information Technology Ed. 2 John Wiley and Sons, 2007

Broadbent, Marianne and Kitzis, Ellen. The New CIO Leader: Setting the Agenda and Delivering Results. Harvard Business Press, 2005

Hunter, Gordon. M. Contemporary Chief Information Officers: Management Experiences

Published by Idea Group Inc (IGI), 2007

Karl D. Schubert CIO Survival Guide: The Roles and Responsibilities of the Chief Information Officer. John Wiley and Sons, 2004

Luftman, Jerry. N. Competing in the Information Age: Align in the Sand. Ed.2

Published by Oxford University Press US, 2003

Lutchen, Mark.D. Managing IT as a Business: A Survival Guide for CEOs

 John Wiley and Sons, 2003


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