CIOs dismissed as techies without business savvy by CEOs

CIOs dismissed as techies without business savvy by CEOs

Gartner survey reveals negative stereotype of IT leaders still persists

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CIOs are being dismissed by CEOs as too techie and not aligned with business activities.

According to recent Gartner survey of 220 CEOs across the world, business leaders expect spending on IT to rise, but without a corresponding rise in the importance of the role of the CIO within the organisation.

Gartner VP Mark Raskino said that the results showed CIOs were rarely seen as the masters of innovation management within the company by the CEO, nor were they thought of as strategy partners.

"In a world of digital disruption, how safe an arrangement is that?" he said.

Although 40% of CIOs report to the CEO, 30% to the COO and 20% to the CFO, this reporting trend has not changed in a decade, Raskino explained.

"When we asked them why their CIO had this reporting line, our respondents couldn't give an answer. We are finding that too often CEOs recruit from outside, suggesting they can't find desirable candidates from inside the business," he said. "CEOs aren't investing enough thought on how they are developing the CIO role from within."

CIOs appear to be failing in the eyes of CEOs in terms of alignment with the rest of the business. The research showed the stereotype of the head of IT being too preoccupied with technical issues to be effective business leaders persists. He said they were perceived as unable to bring a breadth of business perspective to the table.

Raskino explained that the CIO view that they cross departmental boundaries because they control the systems that support them is unhelpful when trying to demonstrate expertise in other parts of the business to the CEO.

"Some CEOs might even find this reasoning irritating," he said, "because it shows a process-centric view of the company, rather than a political or pragmatic one. This perfect world-view is at odds with the mundane realities of business life that other business leaders have to deal with to accomplish their goals."



  • Katie Biltoo I hear this so often - that the business knows how to innovate best With everything from grocery shopping to complex financial transactions becoming increasingly reliant on technology - HOW can the CIO not be involved in driving competitive advantage
  • Katie Biltoo The ongoing struggle between the business and IT is one that I have charted comprehensively through recent research Different organisations are tackling this issues in different ways but one thing is concrete - the role of the CIO is certainly changingIts a feature of a series of meetings that I am currently organising across EMEA and the States - looking into how to create a valuable partnership between the business and IT that drives to business goals How to make the business understand the value locked within their IT infrastructure and to develop a common language of success between the 2 functions It would be fantastic to hear more thoughts on why this is important and how to acheive that kind of strategic partnership
  • Fernando Martinho A lot of CEOs out there DONT UNDERSTAND technology and above all client needs and that is why they make wrong decisions and they are not in the group of the most successful CEOs Thats true and I can give you a zillion of examples but to cut short I give you the APPLE exampleUntil Mr Jobs returned and took over the helm of APPLE the company was run by a well known CEO and a few others before him - and look what they done with APPLE Nothing Then Mr Jobs a tech savvy guy and a guy that really knew what people need and that even the most stupid person would understand any of the stuff he created changed APPLE to be one of the biggest companies in the world if not the biggest at the moment Jobs wasnt what is called nowadays a career CEO He was a leader that did really understand how to make money by understanding what the world needs at a very simple levelIf career CEOs trusted more the technology Chief and push him harder to work with him on developing the business then they would make their companies more successful because what really gives you competitive advantage and quick time to market is good technologists working closely with good CEOs Forget about COOs or CFOs they are only there to make sure company operates well and is financially sound CEOs with CIOs and CTOs working very close can drive businesses to a new era
  • Cameron Smith Optimizing business operations is the role of the COO The CEO wants to move the business forward and increasingly technology is the engine that drives innovation Whats wrong with the CEO expecting that technology provides the competitive advantage to the org It gives us techies jobs and thats a great thing We just need to learn to focus our role on creation rather than optimization
  • Fake Studies cited by Daniel Kahneman Thinking Fast and Slow show that even SampP 500 CEOs are wrong more than half the time about the basic direction of the economy Also the companies with the highest paid CEOs have the worst long term performanceThink back to school Remember the guys who couldnt pass their programming or science classes They switched to business and got a job though their fraternityAlmost all break through companies are created by technical people and then later taken over and stifled by professional managers
  • Today If the CIO role is looked at so negatively Just get rid of all the computers in the company Go back to paper and see how things run then
  • NewsJunkie121 In a static environment sure but technology is a critical competitive vector because it guides the decision making process and the governance of execution Making better decisions and executing them more quickly has allowed small firms to outmaneuvermany larger incumbentsAs examples think of progressives data analytic methods and how disruptive they were to the existing auto line insurers They did this through heavy tech and analytic usage which manipulated pricing to incentivize good risks to select against their existing insurersThe target marketing that most retailers target is a great example employ now is a big data exercise which is more about mathematics and technology that traditional marketingAmazon also bears rememberingThere are two simple examples from retail and insurance Both of which are sleepy sectors not known for innovation or technologyIf anything IT in most environments is failing not because its not relevant but because its not positioning itself properly
  • Louissavalli Im interested to understand why CEOs have an issue with the process-centric view Is there an advantage with a CIO having a politically-oriented view Or the pragmatic view If youre applying technology to optimize business operations where is the benefit in a non-process point of view
  • Brad Orluk While that may have been a good analogy 20 years ago it doesnt hold water in todays economy Businesses NEED strong IS to tap new markets and optimize existing operations as much as possible CIOs should be business savvy MBA types but they should also have strong IT backgroundsIndividuals with larger skillsets who can be considered tech business hybrids will be the best CIOs of the future Not that I will ever become a CIO but my background which includes systems engineering sales and business assignments seems more in line with these needs
  • Phil Von Zuben Wow thats really off-base The world revolves around technology now To dismiss it like that will massively impede your company and shows great disrespect to people who are trying to build business value
  • Cool Mike In my experience the CEO knows the least about the day to day operation of their organization and are more concerned with their own Golden Parachute retirement packages or asserting control over the employees to the point of oppression
  • James Anglin Janitors dont report to the CEO What they do is important but what they do is a simple commodity If they dont do it properly they get fired and replacedWhat if mops were all nuclear-powered so that janitors had to be highly skilled professionals How they did what they did would be complicated but what they did would still be simple Theyd be paid more but their chief still wouldnt report to the CEOIsnt the role of IT in most businesses really more like a nuclear mop than like marketing or accounting
  • Michael I had to look up the definition of a CIOs role and it seems their job is integration and management not innovation and growth - thats the CTOs job I think the disconnect is the lack of definition in their job roles
  • Will My experience of CIOs are that many are IT illiterate and have little technical background at all Thats half the problem they dont understand the technology they are supposed to be managing
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