What to do in the First 90 Days as CIO

Sethu Meenakshisundaram

17th April, 2023


As a new CIO in an organization, the first 90 days can be a critical time for establishing a successful path forward. However, navigating this period can be challenging, as new CIOs may face various obstacles, such as understanding the organization's existing IT landscape, building relationships with key stakeholders, and more.

To help new CIOs overcome these challenges and set themselves up for success, several key things should be considered in the first 90 days. By prioritizing the key things, new CIOs can build a strong foundation for their tenure in the organization, gain the trust of key stakeholders, and make meaningful contributions to the business.

CIOs are crucial in managing an organization's technology infrastructure and ensuring that it aligns with the business's goals and objectives. In addition, they oversee the company's IT strategy, ensuring technology is used effectively to support business processes and enable growth.

When a new CIO enters an organization, the first 90 days of a CIO's tenure are critical for setting the stage for success in the role. Therefore, the CIO should focus on learning the organization's culture, processes, and technology infrastructure during this time.

However, the first 90 days are not without their challenges. Below listed are some of the common challenges that a CIO may come across:

  • Understanding the Company's Culture: CIOs must be able to grasp the culture of the organization they are joining quickly. This can be particularly challenging if they join a company in a different industry or with different values.

  • Building Relationships: CIOs must be able to build relationships quickly with other executives, IT staff, and business unit leaders. They must also be able to communicate effectively with non-technical stakeholders and understand their needs.

  • Evaluating the Existing IT Infrastructure: CIOs must assess the organization's current technology infrastructure and identify improvement areas. This can be challenging if the infrastructure needs to be updated.

  • Developing a Strategic Plan: CIOs must develop a strategic plan that aligns with the business's goals and objectives. This plan must be communicated effectively to other executives and stakeholders and flexible enough to adapt to changing business needs.

This article will explore the various things to consider in the first 90 days as a CIO.

Things to Prioritize in the First 90 Days as a CIO

During the first 90 days, one of the important things to consider for your success as a CIO is to establish yourself as a trusted partner and collaborate with other C-suite level executives, ensuring that IT aligns with the organization's overall strategy. 

Moreover, building relationships with stakeholders outside of IT will help you understand their needs and priorities, which in turn will help you prioritize IT initiatives.

Additionally, building a strong team is equally important for a CIO. A strong team can help you execute your strategic plan, identify opportunities for improvement, and implement new initiatives. This will ensure you achieve success in your initiatives.

Now, let us see the other things to consider as a CIO in the first 90 days in an organization.

First 30 Days: Observe, Assess, and Analyze

1. Assess the IT environment

A new CIO stepping into an organization faces numerous challenges, including assessing the current IT environment. Evaluating the IT environment is crucial as it provides the CIO with an understanding of the company's technology infrastructure, strengths, weaknesses, and gaps. 

With an appropriate assessment, a CIO can identify gaps in the current technology infrastructure and opportunities to leverage new technologies to enhance business operations. Also, it will help the CIO understand how the IT environment aligns with the company's strategic goals.

Moreover, it is the responsibility of a CIO to ensure the security of the company's IT environment. The CIO can identify potential vulnerabilities and implement measures to mitigate security risks by conducting an assessment. This is important today when cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated and frequent.

Also, CIO can communicate these identified vulnerabilities with CISO to build robust security tactics to improve the organization's overall security.

Further, understanding the existing IT landscape will help the CIO identify redundancies, eliminate outdated technology, and streamline operations, resulting in increased efficiency and cost savings.

2. Align IT strategy with business goals

As a new CIO in an organization, aligning the IT strategy with the company's business goals is crucial, especially in the first 90 days of your tenure. During this time, you must demonstrate your ability to understand the business objectives, identify the critical IT requirements, and create a roadmap aligning with the overall company goals.

When IT strategy is aligned with business goals, it becomes easier to identify the critical IT requirements that can drive better business outcomes. This ensures that IT investments are made in areas that support the company's goals, resulting in a more efficient and effective use of resources.

Also, by identifying areas where IT can add value to the business, a new CIO can streamline processes, reduce costs, and improve overall efficiency.

In addition, an aligned IT strategy can provide a competitive advantage to the business. By leveraging technology to support the company's goals, a new CIO can help the business stay ahead of its competitors, identify new opportunities, and grow.

3. Check cybersecurity and compliance posture

As a new CIO, one of your primary responsibilities in the first 90 days of your tenure is to ensure the security of your organization's information systems. Conducting a thorough security audit is a crucial step toward achieving this goal.

A security audit can help you identify any vulnerabilities in your organization's information systems. By conducting an audit, you can proactively assess potential risks and take necessary actions to minimize them.

Moreover, with the ever-evolving regulations and laws around data privacy, ensuring that your organization complies with all relevant laws and regulations is essential. The audit can help you identify any gaps in compliance and take corrective measures.

In addition to compliance, by conducting a security audit, you can identify potential entry points for attackers and take proactive steps to strengthen your security measures.

Now, let's discuss how the findings from a security audit can help a new CIO maintain compliance and prevent cyberattacks.

  • The results of a security audit can help a new CIO prioritize security investments. The audit findings can reveal critical areas that require immediate attention, and the CIO can allocate resources accordingly.

  • Also, with the audit's findings, a new CIO can establish a baseline for the organization's security posture. This baseline can be used to measure the effectiveness of any security improvements the CIO implements.

  • Further, the findings can help a new CIO improve the organization's incident response capabilities. By identifying potential risks and entry points for attackers, the CIO can develop and implement an incident response plan to address any security incidents quickly and effectively.

30 - 60 Days: Develop an IT strategy

A CIO assessing the IT environment in their first 90 days of tenure will help to develop a roadmap with a baseline of the current state of the technology infrastructure. The roadmap will be aligned with the company's strategic goals.

A well-defined IT strategy or roadmap is essential for the success of any organization. As a CIO, you are responsible for ensuring that your organization's IT operations are aligned with the overall business goals. This means that the IT department will work towards achieving the same objectives as the rest of the organization, leading to improved efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

An IT strategy can also help prioritize IT investments. By defining the organization's IT priorities, a CIO can ensure that IT investments are made in areas that will deliver the most significant business value.

Also, a new CIO must assess the risks associated with the organization's IT operations and develop a mitigation plan. Developing a strategy can help identify potential risks and outline the steps needed to address them, reducing the chances of costly downtime or data breaches.

Moreover, the strategy can improve communication between IT and the rest of the organization. By clearly defining IT goals and objectives, it becomes easier for other departments to understand the role of IT in achieving business goals and how they can support IT in attaining those objectives.

60 - 90 Days: Communicate IT strategy to the Stakeholders 

A new CIO must communicate the IT strategy to peers and stakeholders in their first 90 days to build trust, establish credibility, align the organization, and provide clarity. Effective communication of the IT strategy can help a new CIO gain support, build relationships, manage expectations, and drive innovation, ultimately leading to better outcomes for the organization.

By communicating the IT strategy, a new CIO can establish credibility and demonstrate their understanding of the organization's needs. This can help build confidence in the CIO's leadership abilities and establish a positive reputation within the organization.

It can help align the entire organization around a common vision. When everyone understands the goals and objectives of the IT strategy, they can work together more effectively, reduce duplication of effort, and make better decisions that support the overall organization's goals.

Moreover, this communication can provide clarity on the direction of the organization. It helps employees understand how their work supports the organization's goals and objectives, which can improve motivation and engagement.

Use Zluri, a SaaS and User Lifecycle Management Platform, to Smoothen Your Journey as a CIO

As a new CIO in an organization, one of the significant challenges you face is managing the growing number of SaaS applications that are critical to your organization's operations. This is where a SaaS management platform like Zluri comes in handy.

Zluri is a comprehensive SaaS management platform that helps CIOs gain an overview of the organization's IT infrastructure, evaluate the IT environment, and develop an effective IT strategy. In addition, it provides a centralized dashboard to manage all the SaaS applications used within the organization and eliminate shadow IT.


Zluri helps the CIO to get a comprehensive view of their organization's SaaS landscape by providing detailed information on all the SaaS applications used within the organization, including their usage, license, cost, active users, and more. With this information, CIOs can identify redundant or underutilized SaaS apps and optimize their SaaS stack, leading to significant cost savings.

Additionally, Zluri helps CIOs ensure the security posture of the organization's SaaS stack and stay compliant with industry regulations. We continuously monitor SaaS apps and give the required security information for each, including data shared, events, compliance, and security probes.


Still looking for more insights on how Zluri helps CIOs in their first 90 days journey? Book a demo with us, and we'll guide you.

Table of contents

Discover shadow IT, optimize spends and govern user access in one platform.

Related Blogs

See More