Cometh the crisis cometh the CIO...

Chief information officers - CIOs - are ready to play a leading role in helping their organisations adapt to the impending economic climate, research from CIO Connect: 62 per cent believe their board-level colleagues were increasingly turning to them for ‘insight and leadership’ in business change.

As the influence of CIOs continues to grow as many as 80 per cent of CIOs now occupy one of their organisation’s principal executive or operating committees, the report claims, with one in five CIOs operate at the very highest level and have a seat at Board-level

Consequentially, 60 per cent of CIOs say they were in ‘an excellent position to be able to build a detailed knowledge of the executive's latest business priorities and organisational imperatives’. For 42 per cent of CIO respondents, a key attribute associated with their role is the ‘broad and informed view’ they contribute to their organisation’s executive committee on business strategy and processes, coupled with a deep knowledge of how technology can help deliver business benefits.

Collectively, CIOs are now spending much more time outside the IT function than in it: across a given working period, CIOs were found to be spending on average 17 per cent of their time in formal and informal discussions with the top executive and fellow CxOs, according to the report. The focus for CIO discussions with the executive is:

  • Business strategy (55 per cent).
  • Transformational change proposals (54 per cent).
  • Issues of business profitability (39 per cent).
  • Project briefings and programme status updates (39 per cent).

They also collaborate with project stakeholders and organisational leaders (23 per cent of their time on average), work to better understand customer requirements (11 per cent), and negotiate and discuss their business strategy needs with service suppliers (11 per cent).

Some 45 per cent of CIOs are developing a broader business remit and view themselves more as strategic leaders. For them, there is the conviction that the main role for the IT organisations they lead is as a business change agency.

The other set, who specifically direct and manage the technology side of the business, have more of a task focus than a strategic focus on outcomes. They take the line that their role is principally about developing and delivering new business applications (26 per cent), or managing the delivery of enterprise IT services (23 per cent).

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