The Deloitte CIO survey 2014

Analysis

The Deloitte CIO survey 2014

CIOs: At the Tech-junction

After a prolonged economic downturn, organisations across the globe are setting their sights on stronger growth, and for many companies, investment in technology is becoming a strategic priority.

Technological innovation is changing the way businesses operate and connect, and firms have the opportunity to recalibrate their operating models to reflect the emerging digital economy. CIOs are associated with maintaining core IT systems for businesses, but a key question in this year’s survey is whether they should also take more responsibility for harnessing technology innovation to drive business growth.

Currently 55 percent of the CIO budget is focused on supporting delivery of core IT services, with 22 percent assigned to business growth. CIOs continue to see delivery of business outcomes through IT services as their primary responsibility. That makes sense given their role in managing core systems, but suggests they could do more in applying technology when driving innovation for business growth.

Most CIOs have limited budgets for innovation-related activities and report that risk aversion among other board members constrains them from making riskier IT investments.

The survey results suggest that more could be done to drive the technology growth agenda in the C-suite and CIOs could make more effort to develop networking groups, alliance partners and supplier relationships. Small and niche relationships may also be rich untapped sources of new ideas.

Taken together, these findings suggest that business leaders do not always believe CIOs are the natural choice to drive technological innovation for growth. However, that perception may be changing, and CIOs are becoming more effective business partners with half of CIOs rating themselves “strong and effective” in that regard, a 10 percent increase on last year. A significant majority of CIOs state that responding to new business needs and driving digital strategy are their top priorities for the next 12 to 18 months.

As new technologies proliferate, the role of CIOs may be set to change as they consider how far to take the innovation and growth agenda. However, the rise in prominence of positions such as chief marketing, digital and data officers provide organisations with alternatives. Now is the time for CIOs to choose whether to remain custodians of core IT systems or become drivers of growth through technological innovation.

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