Amusing Facts Of Technology Leadership

Dec 04, 2015

With a sharp rise in technical investments across industries, CIOs are now playing a greater role in the C-suite. They are emerging as transformation leaders, entrusted with spearheading digital business innovation while managing their IT portfolios. A CIO survey has recently been conducted by Deloitte. During Deloitte's 2015 Global CIO Survey, 1,271 CIOs from 43 countries were interviewed. Most of the CIOs participated in the survey belong to the organizations having revenues of over $1 billion.

According to the survey, 45% of CIOs prioritize ‘innovation’ and 44% prioritize ‘growth’ for their respective organizations. However, just 15% are making investments in emerging technologies, while only 16% of IT budgets are assigned for various investments in growth and innovation, with the balance used for daily operations and incremental change.

Global allocation of funds for IT budgets


The study has also highlighted various roles played by CIOs nowadays in their organizations and the impacts they want to make in the future. During the interview, CIOs were given questions based on as many as four dimensions, which ultimately framed a CIO's impact:

  • Priorities of the organizations
  • Strengths and skills of the CIOs
  • Relationship building, both internally and externally
  • Investments in technology

The survey has revealed some attention-grabbing facts:

Just 9% of the CIOs have revealed that they have all the skill sets required for success.

CIOs now need to don multiple hats. They should know the art and science of blending their business strategy skills with operations management. According to the survey, CIOs consider ‘SIX’ leadership capabilities as essential for success in their job role. These include:

  1. Ability to influence internal stakeholders
  2. Talent management
  3. Understanding of strategic business priorities
  4. Capability to lead complex and fast-evolving environments
  5. Technology vision and leadership
  6. Communication skills

CIOs believe that there is a need of improvement in their leadership skils

According to the survey, the skills with the largest voids include the ability to influence internal stakeholders, technology vision and leadership, and talent management. CIOs have revealed they are good at managing execution and operations, running large-range projects and leveraging with external partners. However, they do not think that these skills are ‘differentiating factors’ for outstanding technology leaders.

Well-built relationships with fellow executives do not necessarily mean solid impact on the business

48% of CIOs have revealed their ‘strong relationship’ with their CEO, with interaction happening almost once in a week, while additional 17% of CIOs have interactions on a daily basis. However, just 42% of CIOs co-led decisions related to business strategy and just 19% in various M&A activities.

No concrete definition for 'digital'

Over the coming two years, digital (71%), coupled with analytics and business intelligence (77%), is likely to have more influence on the business. However, there is no common consensus on their digital initiatives. While some focus on the analysis of customer data, some give more importance to the improvement of customer experience. Since there is no such common definition, therefore, the report stated, “This lack of definition is often confusing for business leaders and can lead to misunderstandings and conflicting goals.”

Following a thorough analysis of the responses to the questions on the performance and impact of CIO, Deloitte has come up with three unique “archetypes” highlighting how CIOs are preparing for the future and adding value at present.

  • For trusted operators, the major focus areas are performance reliability, costs, and operational efficiency. Their key expertise lies in driving down all costs through the rationalization, renewal and consolidation of technology and they focus mainly on internal customers. 42% of CIOs participated in the survey came under the category.

  • For change instigators, what matters is to drive transformation. Leading business transformation by enabling technology and taking initiatives related to change are the areas they have expertise in. When it comes to partners, they prefer looking outside the company, while the business' end-customer is their prime focus. 22% of CIOs came under the category.

  • For business co-creators, it is all about striking a perfect balance-managing business strategy as well operations efficiently. They work across several dimensions of creating and offering value. They focus on investing in emerging technologies in order to change the way they offer value to their customers or come up with new revenue sources. 36% of CIOs came under the category.

Given the growing complexities of CIOs' roles, various certification programs are now offered by renowned institutes and universities. On the one hand, these programs help CIOs plug the gap in their knowledge base by staying abreast of the latest trends and on the other hand, these programs validate their professional competency.

Most of the certificate programs for CIOs cover a wide range of topics comprising the issues pertaining to ICT policy and regulatory issues, talent management, strategic decision making, various technical issues and the latest trends in these areas. Therefore, these programs are worth pursuing.

Tags: Leadership, technology leadership, talent management, customer experience, business strategy, leadership skills, business intelligence.

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