The past few years have seen a rise in IT leaders running "the Office of the CIO"; today, nearly 50% of organizations have one in place, with a further 13% planning to create the role within three years.
Most commonly referred to as the IT chief of staff, these individuals report directly to the CIO and act as their "right hand" in matters such as strategic planning, budget management, and functional coordination.
Even though each IT chief of staff's responsibilities will vary greatly, there are two main profiles of the chief of staff, based on the activities they spend most time on: direction setters and orchestrators.
- Orchestrators focus on coordinating and executing across the IT organization, typically holding responsibility over portfolio management, IT budgeting, and sourcing.
- Direction Setters focus on setting IT strategic direction. Their responsibilities include IT strategic planning, strategic workforce planning, and planning future state architecture.
Before establishing the IT chief of staff role in your organization, decide on whether you require a strategy specialist or an execution expert, and then define the role based on what profile will be most effective for your IT team. At larger IT organizations, you may require more than one chief of staff to fulfill both of these roles.