A recent survey has found that 79% of CIOs now have a seat at the boardroom table and almost all report directly to the CEO. The study of 150 CIOs found that despite their new-found status, most still struggle to have any real influence on the strategic direction of the businesses they work for.
Here are some key findings:
- 79% of CIOs have a seat at the boardroom table
- 93% report directly to the CEO
- 69% of CIOs said IT was seen as a driver of innovation in their business
- Fewer than 10% have the freedom to set their own agenda in their current job
- 46% said the lack of buy-in at board level was the ‘main barrier to aligning information systems with business challenges to maximize value’
Gartner survey reveals negative stereotype of IT leaders still persists
Moreover, a Gartner survey of 220 CEOs in organizations worldwide also highlighted the disconnection between the CIO and the rest of the board:
- The stereotype of the CIO being too preoccupied with technical issues to be an effective business leader still persists;
- CIOs are perceived by CEOs as too techie and not aligned with business activities;
- CIOs were perceived as unable to bring a breadth of business perspective to the table.
- Business leaders expect spending on IT to rise, but without a corresponding rise in the importance of the role of the CIO within the enterprise.
- CIOs are rarely seen as the masters of innovation management within the company, or as strategy partners.
Here are some tips for CIOs to increase their influence on the strategic direction of the businesses they work for:
- Develop the case for more extensive IT – board interaction
- Create opportunities for interaction between board members and business savvy members of your team
- Get personal board-level experience
- Engage in dialog with your largest shareholders
- Get input from, and offer input to, the board
- Sustain a board-level business lexicon for you and your team
- Identify where IT can influence (product, customer, information, complexity) and discuss technology strategies in the language of the business (competitive landscape, revenue, cost savings, improved efficiency)
- Focus on developing plans with real benefits including methods to reduce costs
- Improve Management’s Technology Quotient
- Provide an annual IT business impact audit
- Improve your leadership skills
The CIO’s role is less about software, servers or IT infrastructure than it is about business strategy execution and leadership skills.