State of the CIO 2014: The great schism

State of the CIO 2014: The great schism

Digital strategist or traditional CIO? Our 13th annual State of the CIO research reveals the great career divide.

Despite the talk from Gartner and others that the CMO and marketing group are poised to take dollars away from IT, our survey finds that CIOs expect the portion of tech-investment money under IT's control will remain pretty much the same in the next three years: 65 per cent now and 66 per cent in 2017. Maybe CIOs are sticking their heads in the sand on this issue. Or maybe they're interpreting the facts differently: For Adduci at Boston Scientific, the worried talk about how entities other than IT are funding technology projects misses the point. For example, 61 per cent of enterprise technology projects are not financed by IT, according to a recent survey of 1,200 business executives conducted by IDC. But that's as it should be, Adduci says. If a project has a clear business value, funding and sponsorship should come from the non-IT business groups that benefit, he says. We've moved beyond IT for IT's sake, after all.

CIOs may lose control of some IT spending. But the smart ones accumulate capital in the form of credibility and influence. It's in the ability to build relationships, however, that the divide between CIOs is most stark.

Related Leadership equity, unlocked: Insights from Barfoot & Thompson CIO Simon Casey

The activities that game-changer CIOs plan for elevating IT's relationship with peers this year differ from those of cost-centre CIOs. Game-changers, for example, more often plan to deepen the IT bench. Doing so, of course, makes a stronger IT group. But it also makes delegation easier, freeing up time for strategic pursuits. And it instills confidence in business peers that the IT team can handle demands, Carmody says.

"Business can see we can solve their problems quicker. That's a huge plus."

Related: On solid ground Craig Soutar of the New Zealand Transport Agency talks about the CIO’s ‘balancing act’ of simultaneously leading through a growing ICT portfolio and delivering core services.

In enhancing a personal work relationship with C-level peers, cost-centre CIOs may be taking some ineffective steps. For example, they report planning to provide advice to others more often than planning to seek advice, which probably won't win friends, Heim says. CIOs do best when they listen first and ask lots of questions to understand an issue. "You have two ears and one mouth for a reason," he says.

Another example: Cost-centre CIOs don't plan to - or perhaps can't - join C-level peers in customer meetings as often as strategic CIOs. Attending industry events together, socializing outside of work and celebrating wins outside of work are also more popular relationship-building activities for game-changers than for cost-centre CIOs.

Next: What's Best for You?

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