This article looks at a study that I first spotted being reviewed in the Silicon Republic News Service. The original study is from IBM and you can access it here.
The study was based on conversations with over 2,500 Chief Information Officers (CIOs). The responses have been gathered together to identify how CIOs work today. It looks at
- how CIOs think their roles have changed
- how they are more involved in setting and reacting to strategy
- how their outlook differs depending on whether they are working in a high performing company or not (performance is measured based on the growth of profit before tax)
Rather than review or comment on the study, I extracted quotes and excerpts from it and put them under headings that I felt made sense. The study itself should be read to get the full context for each of these snippets.
CIOs’ views on Business Critical Data
- Many CIOs admitted their users can’t always access the information they need in a timely manner. A Government CIO in the United States noted, “Data is readily available to users, but it’s tough to find if you’re a novice.”
- When CIOs were asked to identify their visionary plans for enhancing their enterprises’ competitiveness, business intelligence and analytics was the top answer, selected by 83% of the sample. 76% selected virtualisation while 71% selected Risk management and compliance.
- A Consumer Products CIO in Ireland explained, “We do recognize the strategic advantage of using data to support improved decision making. We are not as strong as we would like to be, but this is a key plank of our strategy going forward.”
- Make the data sing – “Surprise the business with unexpected ways to meet customer needs and otherwise profit from enterprise data”
- Just 67 percent of High-growth CIOs said data is readily available for relevant users. Only 51 percent of Low-growth CIOs said their data is available.
- “The benefits of making information available are beyond comprehension”
The CIO’s Role
- “..the voice of the CIO is being heard in new ways – as CIOs are increasingly recognized as full-fledged members of the senior executive team. Successful CIOs are much more actively engaged in setting strategy, enabling flexibility and change, and solving business problems, not just IT problems.”
- “Over time, the CIO role is less about technology and more about strategy”
- “Business is more and more reliant on our data for decision making”.
- “IT is now seen as a key enabler to business goals and mission, and is engaged in delivering business strategy. Managing with defined goals and intent makes it easier for IT to align to business needs.”
- “I help business leaders figure out what they want to do with technology, then I work on how to deliver it.”
- CIOs need to stay abreast of market forces underway, paying particular attention to competitive moves and options for differentiating their organizations.
- Each CIO also needs to understand how customer expectations of products and services are changing, where competitive threats exist and how relationships with customers are evolving.
- “Business and technology executives work together day to day, often involving business strategy. We are creating the future of our company by integrating business needs with technology.”
CIOs in High versus Low Performing Companies
- In the best performing companies, 62% of the CIOs were members of the most senior management team compared to 48% in the poorer performing companies.
- In order to focus on more transformational, forward-thinking aspects of the business, 56 percent of CIOs in better performing companies use third-party business or IT services, versus 46 percent of CIOs in the low performing companies.
- CIOs in high performing companies “proactively craft data into actionable information 61 percent more often” than those in low performing companies. “Our prosperity depends completely on our data,” said an Electronics CIO in Switzerland.
- In five years, 63 percent of High-growth CIOs expect their business models to be well-established, unique and difficult to imitate, compared to just 49 percent of Low-growth CIOs.
Some CIOs’ plans
- When CIOs were asked to identify their visionary plans for enhancing their enterprises’ competitiveness, business intelligence and analytics was the top answer, selected by 83% of the sample.
- “We are looking at any and all opportunities to streamline.”
- CIOs are necessarily relentless about scrutinizing budgets and processes to trim the fat.
- Among the top management priorities cited by a Banking CIO in Canada is to “position the IT organization to handle increased activity with minimal additional cost.” Simply put, CIOs aspire to do more with less.
- To control costs, CIOs commonly view a central technology organization as the future of their function… “not in terms of physical location, but rather in the way it is handled”.
- Consolidate and use third-party services whenever it makes financial and business sense, particularly to gain economies of scale.