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What Is a CIO Dashboard and Why Do I Need One?

Cio dashboard

A CIO dashboard, or an IT dashboard, is an essential tool for any IT leader who wants to keep tab on the technology in their business.

But what exactly is a “CIO dashboard” and what should be included in one?

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In this post, we’ll cover the basics – what CIO dashboards are, what their benefits are, and what metrics to focus on.

What Is a CIO Dashboard?

A CIO dashboard is a one-stop control panel that shows the most important metrics, indicators, and information CIOs need to track on a daily basis.

Generally speaking, this includes metrics and details that cover:

  • IT operations. CIOs are primarily responsible for IT services management and delivery. One section of the CIO dashboard should therefore focus on the status and performance of IT systems and infrastructure.
  • IT-related projects and business initiatives. In many organizations, CIOs are also being called upon to design, plan, and execute digital business initiatives. Research has shown, for instance, that as the economy becomes more digital, CIOs are being increasingly asked to create and lead digital transformation initiatives.
  • Other performance metrics that fall under the CIO’s responsibilities. Many CIOs’ job roles are also expanding to include other IT functions not traditionally relegated to the CIO’s mandate. These can include areas such as cybersecurity, data/privacy compliance, and customer-facing technology.

The CIO’s role is rapidly shifting in the modern workplace and it will continue to shift for some time to come. 

The metrics that should be included in a dashboard, therefore, will vary from organization to organization. 

For instance, a CIO in one company may be responsible mostly for IT operations and maintenance. In another, the CIO may be responsible for cybersecurity, the customer experience, digital transformation initiatives, and so forth.

This is why it is important to customize a dashboard to suit one’s own specific job duties and responsibilities.

Why Have a CIO Dashboard?

There are a number of benefits to creating a CIO dashboard.

For instance, a CIO dashboard can:

  • Streamline workflows and save time. Since CIOs need to constantly track certain indicators, having them in one place can save a lot of time. Rather than having to check multiple sources or programs, a dashboard allows CIOs to simply check a single page for the most up-to-date information.
  • Provide a clear snapshot of IT performance. Crunching and analyzing data takes time. Dashboards eliminate this need by providing everything in one place. Visualization is another tool that can give CIOs an instant picture of the performance of key indicators and programs.
  • Offer real-time data on key indicators. When integrated properly into key business systems, dashboards can provide real-time insights into relevant business processes. Such up-to-the-minute information is essential, not only for tracking IT operations, but also for organizational performance and business improvement projects that CIOs may be responsible for.

Below, we’ll cover some of the most common types of metrics and KPIs to include in a dashboard.

Elements to Include in a CIO Dashboard

A CIO’s job description will differ from company to company, as mentioned above. 

However, for the most part, metrics fall into the categories mentioned above: IT operations, other IT functions, and strategic business initiatives.

A dashboard, therefore, can be divided into sections such as those.

Let’s explore some of these categories and metrics in more detail.

IT Operations

Here are a few metrics to include in the section on IT operations:

  • System uptime 
  • System downtime
  • System maintenance events
  • Critical/scheduled system events
  • Network traffic
  • Application response times
  • Hardware usage as a percentage of capacity

Most CIOs are certainly used to these types of metrics, since they are a standard part of IT operations.

However, as mentioned, many CIOs will need to include other IT functions above and beyond system performance.

Other IT Functions

With each new responsibility that a CIO takes on, it is important to add that area to the CIO dashboard.

For instance, a CIO responsible for cybersecurity would want to include metrics such as:

  • Security incidents, both major and minor
  • Security response times
  • Security updates
  • Financial costs of security breaches
  • Average timelines to discovery of incidents

It is worth noting that as a dashboard increases in complexity, it may be advisable to split the dashboard into multiple pages. A CIO who wants deeper insights into cybersecurity, for instance, may choose to include only a few key metrics on the dashboard’s main page, then add extra pages that contain more in-depth information.

The example above – cybersecurity – is only one of several other functions that CIOs may wish to add to their dashboard.

A CIO who is responsible for customer-facing technology, for instance, may wish to add other metrics that track that technology’s performance, costs, its impact on the customer, and so forth.

Business Metrics

Another important area for CIOs to monitor is business initiatives, such as organizational change projects, digital transformation programs, and so forth.

Here are a few examples of metrics that can be useful to include:

  • Ongoing projects and their progress
  • Upcoming projects
  • Major project milestones
  • Project key dates and deadlines

As with other areas of the dashboard, it is easily possible to add more in-depth data or extra pages to drill down further into these metrics.

With the right KPIs and a user-friendly setup, this type of dashboard can significantly streamline the CIO’s workflow, improve performance, reduce errors, and more.

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