[Editor’s note: This story was originally published on the Optimal-Partners blog here. Read more about Optimal-Partners here.]

Being a Higher Ed CIO is a complex and often misunderstood job, as anyone who follows the blogs of any Higher Ed CIO can attest to. This misunderstanding has led to a few frequently propagated myths about the profession, myths that can be counterproductive to progress. Here are the top five higher ed CIO myths that seem to be kicking about the edusphere, and the truth behind these myths that might have you thinking twice about how vital and difficult the Higher Ed CIO’s job truly is.

1: “If We Just Had a Great CIO, Everything Would Work And All of Our Problems Would Vanish!”

While it can be very easy to search for this kind of miracle pill, a single charismatic and go-getting leader will not solve all of an institution’s IT problems. Tech troubles can be complicated beasts involving multitudes of other sub-issues, issues that a CIO might influence but not completely control. Budgets, institutional priorities, institutional allocations, other high-level personalities; these and other troubles can contribute to systemic IT issues that not even a “golden” CIO can solve. While a good CIO can help to address some facets of these issues, simply hiring a “miracle” CIO will not solve them entirely.

2: CIO’s Are Only Around to Monitor and Troubleshoot the IT Environment.

Thanks to developments in monitoring technology (as well as the ever-changing needs of Higher Ed), the role of the CIO is shifting. According to a 2015 survey, CIO’s currently spend up to 27 percent of their time working on business strategy rather than IT-specific issues. What’s perhaps even more telling is the projections of how this will change even more in the future; the same study reports that CIO’s would like to spend up to 72 percent of their time strategizing. CIO’s are increasingly getting involved in the big picture, and seem to want more involvement on that level.

(Next page: Higher ed CIO myths 3-5)

About the Author:

Danielle R. is a writer for the Optimal-Partners blog.


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