Preliminary results of IDC's "Forecast for management" survey of around 150 senior IT managers in Australia found over 57 percent of respondents reported to the chief executive officer (CEO).
The finding is a marked shift from the traditional reporting line, whereby the CIO would report to the finance department head.
"CIOs are now clearly in favour with the CEO," Catherin Bennett, director, IT Management Programme, IDC, told attendees at the IDC Directions 06 conference in Sydney.
IDC had seen a 19 percent increase in survey respondents reporting to the CEO since 2003, according to Bennett. The survey is conducted annually. Survey respondents ranged from small to large organisations and across industry, according to IDC.
The shift in reporting lines would result in "greater lines of communication, greater understanding of the direction of the business, and a really clear alignment between the direction of IT priorities against the direction of the business," said Bennett.
Although in favour with the CEO, this did not mean CIOs workload had become any easier.
Responsibility for mobility technologies (like mobiles and PDAs), office equipment like printers and multi-function devices, and records management were all increasing the workload on CIOs, the survey detailed.
In addition, it was becoming standard for CIOs to have to justify their investments within a timeframe.
"Return on investment timeframes are dominating our respondents. They have to demonstrate a return on every IT investment in 12 months. In fact 23 percent of our respondents have to do so," she said.
An additional 19 percent had to demonstrate return-on-investment within a 12-24 month period.
"So this is 42 percent of our respondents have to demonstrate a very clear return on every IT investment within 24 months."