CIOs Must Build Coalitions, Collaborate, Persuade

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

CIOs must take a different approach than they have in the past. There's a growing need to build coalitions, persuade peers and collaborate with other executives.

By Samuel Greengard

The typical IT department has changed radically over the last decade. Mobility, social media, big data, analytics and cloud computing have transformed the way CIOs and other top IT executives approach enterprise computing. In addition, the recession has put the squeeze on companies like never before.

So it should come as no surprise that the role of the CIO is changing significantly, according to a new report from global professional recruitment and executive search firm Harvey Nash USA. The firm's 15th Annual CIO Technology Survey 2013, conducted in association with data center vendor TelecityGroup, found that one in five CIOs believes that their direct control over technology has diminished since the start of the recession.

In addition, the proportion of IT departments where 10 percent or more of IT spend is controlled outside the IT department has increased from 23 percent in 2011 to 33 percent in 2012. The figure now stands at 40 percent.

This rapidly changing environment is sending ripples throughout the enterprise and IT. "There is a strong shift toward a more collaborative and multi-skilled CIO," notes Bob Miano, president and CEO of Harvey Nash USA. In reality, "IT leaders have more influence than ever before, but that influence is increasingly dependent on the CIO's ability to work with others in the organization, particularly the CMO."

In fact, 71 percent of the survey's respondents see the CIO role as becoming more strategic. This finding is backed by the fact that 28 percent of CIOs reported to the CEO in 2009, and 32 percent report to the CEO in 2103.

CEOs increasingly expect CIOs to prioritize projects that make money over those that save money (62 percent versus 38 percent). Overall, 39 percent of CIOs believe they are using influencing skills more than ever before, compared to just 4 percent who believe they are using them less frequently.

The study, which includes the views of more than 2,000 CIOs and technology leaders across 20 countries, also found that bring-your-own-device (BYOD) adoption is skyrocketing. Overall, 46 percent of respondents expect the proportion of their IT estate to be owned and managed directly by users to grow over the next year. In addition, 43 percent expect to increase spending on outsourcing—almost three times as many as those expecting to shrink their outsourcing budgets.

The takeaways? Miano says that the IT leaders who will excel in this new environment will strive for shared goals with partners, both inside and outside the organization. A key to success is improving the return on innovation investment.

"Only three percent currently believe their organization's innovation potential is being fully realized, and more than two-thirds of CIOs—69 percent—say they are spending too little time and too few resources on innovation projects," he says.

Consequently, CIOs must take a different approach than they have in the past. There's a growing need to build coalitions, persuade peers and collaborate with other executives.

"Successful innovations in cloud, mobility and collaboration technology will contribute to greater CIO influence—as long as these executives can deliver on expectations," Miano notes. "CIOs require more time and resources to capitalize on this innovation potential. This requires additional support from others in the C-suite."

This article was originally published on 2013-05-23

Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for Baseline.

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