Only 11 percent of Australian CIOs report into CEOs: study

Only 11 percent of Australian CIOs report into CEOs: study

Summary: New study reveals that the vast majority of Australian CIOs report to the CFO or COO.

TOPICS: CXO, Australia

Two-thirds of CIOs believe that they should report directly into their organisation's CEO, yet only one in 10 actually does, a study says.

Current reporting lines see the vast majority of Australian CIOs reporting to chief financial or operational officers; however, the study says that CIOs that report to a CFO see it as a cost-containing measure, and when a CIO reports into a COO, it is viewed as removing any transformative capacity from the CIO role.

The study entitled From Technology to Strategy, was conducted by Galaxy Research for Lenovo and Intel, surveyed 50 Australian technology leaders in organisations with over 200 employees, and said that seven times as many CIOs and heads of IT in the private sector would prefer to report directly to the CEO than those in the public sector.

Of the respondents that wanted to report to the CEO, 90 percent said that they wanted to do so to align technology to business objectives, which also came in as the main priority of CIOs, followed by business transformation, and customer engagement.

Heads of IT were more focused on the traditional competencies of IT, with 33 percent saying their number one priority was infrastructure management, with business transformation in second, and alignment to business objectives in third.

"Those professionals in a Head of IT role are more likely to be focused primarily on delivering reliable and hard working technology solutions for their companies," the study said. "Nevertheless, the inclusion of aligning to business objectives in their top three priorities is an important indicator that this group is also conscious of the changing demands placed on them by the businesses they work in."

However, the report also found that for 54 precent of respondents were the source of their own business priorities, and this level of autonomy could result in IT being out of step with the strategy of the rest of the organisation.

The study found that technology leaders were thinking more and more in traditional business terms, with the technical background of becoming less relevant. One respondent even suggested that CIOs be renamed to Chief Producitivity Officer.

"If a forward-thinking CIO or Head of IT can learn to anticipate the needs of their business and match that with emerging technology solutions, they can become an important catalyst for greater efficiency throughout the organisation," the study said.

Topics: CXO, Australia


Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining CBS as a programmer. After a Canadian sojourn, he returned in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia, and is now the Australian Editor of ZDNet.

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  • Reporting line not relevant

    Having worked in the industry for longer than I care to remember more important than any reporting line is the ability for the CIO to get the job done regardless. A reporting line is not required to get or understand the business requirements if the CIO is proactive and has the ability to communicate well. If the CIO cannot get the information she or he needs then frankly they are either in the wrong job or the wrong company. A successful CIO is going to be successful regardless of the reporting line and what I have seen is CIO's who excel at what they do getting promoted to the Exec group if they were not previously part of that team or they are given direct and clear access to the CEO / CFO if they are not in that team.