What does a senior IT leader do?

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Senior IT Manager

CIO, CTO, CDO, CSO, CISO are all different senior IT leader (C-level) roles with different functions and responsibilities in a company. In smaller organizations, several of these roles are often gathered with one or a couple of executives, in large organizations, each of the roles can lead its own department.

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An IT manager is a middle manager who heads the company’s IT department and whose main task is to monitor the daily IT tasks and operations.

Under the leadership of the CIO (if any), the IT manager maintains the organization’s standardized routines and defined support processes.

Examples of an IT manager’s responsibilities include supervision of support services, personnel management, the life cycle management of IT assets and often certain project management.

An IT manager can be the company’s only IT staff in a small organization.

The IT manager usually reports to the CIO or CTO if any of these roles exist in the organization, or to the CFO.


A CIO, Chief Information Officer, is a senior executive in the company who is responsible for information policy, management, control and standards.

The main functions of a CIO include participation in the company’s strategic planning, responsibility for information system planning, management of the development of company or institutional information policy, management of the company’s information resources, development of new information system capacity and increasing profits through the use of IT.

The CIO usually reports to the CEO or CFO.


The role of CTO, Chief Technology Officer, shares some common attributes with the role of CIO. Both positions must have a strong business understanding in order to provide added value to the company and adapt their respective areas of responsibility to the company’s goals. They must also have a technical background so that they can understand and evaluate the underlying technology of an organization.

Compared to a CIO, however, the CTO has a more customer-oriented role and is mostly responsible for improving the company’s product range.

In connection with this, another difference in both roles is that CTO is usually responsible for the development of new technology in the organization, while CIO has more focus on organizational problems and tries to solve these with existing IT solution.

The CTO reports mostly to the CIO.


The role of CDO, Chief Data Officer, is relatively new with the main responsibility to digitize traditional organizations. To do this, the CDO must determine the parts of the business where influencers can support the change and strengthen these influencers. This is why it is especially important that the person who fills this role is not only a digital expert but also knows all parts of the organization.

The CDO mostly reports to the CIO.


A CSO, Chief Security Officer, is responsible for security throughout the organization, including data/cyber security.

If a CISO, Chief Information Security Officer, is also present in the company, he is responsible for ensuring the security of all digital data and IT infrastructure (cyber security), while the CSO is responsible for physical security.

The CSO should preferably report to the CEO or CFO but also often report to the CIO or CTO. CISO reports mostly to the CSO.