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2016 – 2017 Global CIO Survey

Navigating legacy: Charting the course to business value

Deloitte’s 2016–2017 global survey of CIOs takes us a step forward in gaining a deeper understanding of how CIOs create legacy - the value and impact technology leaders deliver to their organisations. Through in-depth interviews and online surveys, we collected the opinions and insights of more than 1,200 CIOs across 23 industry segments in 48 countries. The Belgian edition of the CIO survey includes some additional perspectives from the Belgian CIO survey respondents. A total of 43 Belgian CIOs, working in various industries and different sizes and types of companies, completed this year’s survey.

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CIO Survey

In this year’s CIO Survey, we take a step forward in gaining a deeper understanding of how CIOs create legacy - the value and impact technology leaders deliver to their organisations.

Talent and leadership

A successful legacy is not bound by inherent personality traits but can be developed by building the right capabilities and teams.

Business priorities and expectations

The survey revealed a mismatch between business priorities and the business expectations for IT as also the IT capabilities to meet these priorities are lagging behind. We zoom in on how the CIO can bridge this gap by enabling the organization to achieve its top business priority: Enabling growth through a focus on customers and innovation.

CIO journey

An important shift from a Trusted Operator to a Business Co-creator.

Digital redefined

Even as the business needs change and CIOs navigate the legacy patterns, CIOs must do so while driving the organisation’s digital transformation.

This year the survey explores the extent to which CIO personality traits (“nature”) influence legacy more or less than technology capabilities (“nurture”). We also explore the gaps between IT capabilities and business expectations and the agility of CIOs to realign their capabilities to their business needs. Finally, we analyse the idea of the “digital iceberg” and how CIOs are better positioned than any other occupant of the C-suite to drive digital across the entire organisation.

Gaps in expectation

To create value, CIOs must deliver IT capabilities that are aligned with key business priorities - Belgian CIOs told us their top five priorities are customers, growth, cost, performance and innovation. In addition to business priorities, CIOs should meet their businesses’ expectations of IT, such as maintaining IT systems, improving business processes, reducing costs, developing the organisation’s digital capabilities and managing cybersecurity.

The digital transformation and the increasing customer focus can and eventually will push the CIO at the helm of business value creation. Still, significant gaps exist between business expectations and the CIO’s perception of enabling growth through technology and innovation.

This presents CIOs with a huge opportunity to drive strategic alignment through IT capabilities. To keep up with changing business needs, CIOs should develop IT capabilities to drive business value, enhance their own personal competencies, develop relationships with other executives, and develop and nurture their talent and teams.

War for talent

More than their global counterparts, Belgian CIOs have reported that the acquisition and retention of talent within their business unit is essential for CIO success. Attracting new talent that boosts innovation and transformation is indeed a major achievement for a change instigator. Moreover, the war for talent is just starting and detecting the right skilled people will be a tough challenge. The profile of the future IT worker will be a top engineer or architect demonstrating a high ability to be open-minded and innovative with a huge capacity to get acquainted with new technology. 

 The digital iceberg

Our data leads us to believe that some CIOs and business leaders view “digital” only as customer-facing, front-end tools and technologies - what we call the tip of the digital iceberg. Others view digital as a mind-set, where technology fundamentally transforms and shapes future business models. This requires embedding technology in every facet of the business, and demands a fundamentally different role for CIOs.

If CIOs are fundamental to enabling digital transformation, they must develop and improve their digital capabilities and investments. More than a quarter (33%) of Belgian CIOs ranked their IT organisation as below average in digital skillsets, especially customer and digital experience. More than 1 out of 5 CIOs told us they were underinvesting in digital, emerging technologies and analytics.

Conclusion: Control your legacy

These pivotal times provide a unique opportunity for CIOs to drive business transformation, harness digital disruption and create a powerful legacy. We present 5 key takeaways in this report:

  • Be adaptive. CIOs are not limited by personality traits or work styles. In fact, we have seen that they can control their careers— and their legacies—by nurturing required leadership competencies and IT capabilities and make an indelible impact on their teams and businesses. 
  • Invest in talent and capabilities to drive value. CIOs can’t build their legacies alone. The IT capabilities, teams, and talent that CIOs develop play a fundamental role in their legacies. To succeed, CIOs need to engage, attract, invest in, and retain talent and skill sets. 
  • Rethink digital. CIOs should collaborate with other leaders to define “digital” based on their business context. They should acknowledge their role as drivers of the organisation’s digital transformation, demonstrate leadership, and exert influence over future business needs and strategy. 
  • Cast a wider net of relationships and influence. To become and remain influential, CIOs should develop and maintain relationships with key stakeholders. They need to build alliances and partnerships inside and outside of the C-suite, their company, and their industry. 
  • Step up or step aside. CIOs are at an inflection point. Irrespective of industry or competitive environment, technology will fundamentally transform their businesses. CIOs are best positioned to lead their organisations on this transformational journey, and if they don’t step up, other business leaders will.
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