Why Zimbabweans Should Hire CIO!


The success of every organization in this Information age is largely dependent on a well organized technology structure.

Technology in Zimbabwe can surely be an opportunity or a serious threat to your enterprise should you choose to be only reactive than taking a proactive stance

Today in technology Zimbabwe , we have telecoms companies, facing serious viability constraints and some are going for downsizing or closure because they failed to implement a proper IT strategy on the backdrop of a positive high mobile penetration rate which they should be benefiting from.

Brodacom, a Spiritage holdings subsidiary is one company which had the potential to be the most successful converged telecoms provider in Zimbabwe but it dismally failed ,closing most of its shops with its employees going for months without salaries because it failed to execute a proper IT strategy though it had a perfect marketing strategy which caused a national stir .

Internationally photo giant, Kodak is now on its knees because consumers are no longer finding it any relevant as they now have lots of digital solutions to take care of their memories in photos and videos.

They probably lacked the foresight or they completely had no one on the look out!

Technology is surely a disruptive innovation, but which side of the coin it leaves you is purely a matter of strategic measures and knowhow for the implementation.

The winning team will be determined by the enterprise employing a well polished IT strategy and this voluminous task can only be tackled by a Chief Information Officer.

A chief information Officer (CIO) is mostly likened to a Chief Technology Officer though these two are not always one nor the same, yet functionally they could be one thing.

A CIO is also referred to as the IT Director, this is the most senior position in charge of the ICT in every organisation.

Sometime last year I once wrote an article on IT Governance, the statutes in it and the implementation strategy thereof. The absence of CIOs in Zimbabwe is hampering the growth of ICTs and forcing organisation not to see the risks they are exposed to before they are victims.

In Zimbabwe technology, the most senior IT/ICT position offered is that of an IT manager and at times just an IT administrator. The main danger with our local system is that the IT manager mostly reports to the Finance Director or Operations Executives which purely does not make any sense.

The different worlds of an IT personnel and a Finance Executive are often forced to come to common grounds for the best of the company where these two people speak purely different languages.

Traditionally ICTs have been treated as a cost and not the core business of an organisation and getting the IT manager to convince the finance Director that we need to buy security software and hardware worth hundreds of thousands will only fall on deaf ears.

Overhauling a porous IT system or upgrades are also often stifled by “ if it’s not broken why fix it.?” This also causes negative behaviour and boredom amongst employees which most of them are only taken aback to the Stone Age systems when they go work, gradually employees will be forced to adapt because the current system does not encourage technology to flourish.

The need to start embracing the power of the digital age, social networks, online trends and technologies is also beyond the scope of an IT Manager this is a position for the most dynamic IT person who fits well in the relevant organisation.

The best CIO to hire is that person who has the best Technical know of ICTs but perfectly understands, practices or fits well in the core business of the organisation.

This is an individual who comes onboard to bridge the Gap between the technological world and the Business management sector. This individual can only bring results if he/she has been exposed to technologies and fully understands the core business of the entity.


A good example for a car manufacturing firm in Zimbabwe, The CIO would have to be obviously an IT person who has a background in car manufacturing technologies. He has to know the trade values well like going green, the grey imports, electronic cars etc, Why because these are the next world disruptive technologies in the car industry.

The same can be said in the media industry, it is currently facing its greatest shift ever from the conventional hard copies to inventing new ways online, from the desktop based browsers to the mobile generation, the emergence of social networks, the app world plus mastery of online content management systems (CMS).

A successful CIO needs a very unique skill set, leadership skills, well-grounded in technology, an understanding of corporate finance, very creative and a deep understanding of the ability to directly relate to the business.

Failure to understand the relevant technologies or lack of exposure would literally mean you have just hired another IT Manager to cohabit with the existing old one.

According to e-job description The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is accountable for directing the information and data integrity of the enterprise and its groups and for all Information Technology functions of the enterprise.

In a nutshell this is what an organisation should mainly look out for to revolutionise its IT Strategy but what do you need to be, so that you are the top notch CIO or IT director?

More on those requisites to match the most demanding post in IT ever, which was created by the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996?

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