CIO vs IT Director: What's the Difference?

CIO vs IT Director. Both roles are at the top level of an organization’s IT department. But what are their differences from each other?

Let’s learn of these differences in this article.

What Does a CIO Do?

CIO or Chief Information Officer. This is an executive-level position within a company. And the one holding this position can also be the IT Director at the same time.

CIOs leans more in aiding in making and planning business strategies. And less on the implementation of these plans and strategies.

What Does an IT Director Do?

The IT Director works only a step under the CIO. And the IT Director can even be a Network Engineer or Load Technician.

Sometimes, he also acts as the IT head if the company does not have a CIO position.

The one holding this role leans more on making the actual implementation of plans. And is more of an order-taker and task performer.

So, what are some other key differences they have? Let’s see.

CIO vs IT Director

Investment vs Cost

Whether a company needs to ask the CIO or the IT Director, they must first know their needs.

If they want to invest in new technologies to get an advantage over rivals, they need to see the CIO.

But, if they want to manage and lessen the cost of technology, they need to see the IT Director.

So, both of these roles are involved in buying and deploying tech for the company. But they differ in their roles and purpose in buying so.

Enterprise vs Department

Making technology decisions vary from time to time. Sometimes, companies need to make enterprise-level changes. And sometimes, only at the department-level.

So, when tech decisions need to happen within a department, they can ask the IT Director. Over time, these changes can spread to other departments as well.

But if companies need to make enterprise-level changes, this is where the CIO comes in. Making tech decisions, plans, and strategies are his duties.

Then, he makes sure these works across all departments in the company. And they let the IT Directors put in place these changes.

Leader vs Manager

Companies need to ask themselves how they view the head of technology. Is he going to be a corporate leader or focus on being a department manager?

Of course, that is true for companies only wanting to have either a CIO or IT Director. But for those that have both, they can also have both a corporate leader and department manager.

This is because the CEO charges the CIO to align technology with the corporate mission. Thus, making the CIO take a firm, and sometimes political, stand to technology.

Also, the IT department aids in the technology needs of other departments. So, they need to help manage company tech resources and not lead it.

Thus, this is where the IT Director comes in. He will aid in this area and does not work closely with the CEO.

If companies have both roles, then they can better focus on each of their tasks.

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