Research: Is the role of CIO still relevant?

The latest survey from Tech Pro Research shows a big discrepancy in the relevance that CIO's feel their role retains, versus what other IT staffers report.
Written by Teena Maddox, Contributor

How relevant is the role of CIO? It depends on whom you ask. In the latest Tech Pro Research survey, participants were asked if the role of the CIO has changed within their company in the past five years.

In the resulting report, The CIO as a business catalyst: Role, relevance and value, 33 percent of the non-CIO/CTO respondents feel the role has become less relevant. Of the CIO/CTO respondents, only 14 percent say that their role is less important.

On the other hand, a whopping 64 percent of CIO/CTO respondents say that their role is more relevant, while only 38 percent of non-CIO/CTO respondents feel that the CIO role is more relevant.

CIO role


Obviously there's a disparity, and it's based on the job title of the person answering the question. While nearly two-thirds of CIOs and CTOs believe that the CIO role is more relevant, just over one-third of the other respondents — who do not fill the role of CIO or CTO — say it's more relevant. (In this article and in the survey, the term CIO refers to the C-level executive in charge of all technology and the company's focus on it.)

Regardless, this outlook still bodes well for the position of CIO, because it shows the potential the role can bring with the right mindset. The role warrants attention because as technology advances, the future of companies will depend on the IT strategies employed by the key decision makers.

The main question is whether the key decision maker for these strategies is still the CIO, or are the CIO's responsibilities and influence being assumed by others, whether internally or externally?

Participants who rated innovation and creativity as somewhat or very important within their organization were also asked about the CIO's impact on those areas. The 198 respondents to this question offered wildly divergent views depending on whether they were in the CIO/CTO or non-CIO/CTO groups.

tech innovation


As the above chart shows, there is a sizeable gap of 32 percent between CIOs and non-CIOs on the question of whether the role has a strong impact on technological innovation and creativity. Nearly one-third of non-CIOs feel their CIO has little or no impact, but only 6 percent of the CIOs feel they have little impact, and none feel they have no impact. The low percentages of those reporting little or no impact across both groups show a solid footprint on the part of the CIO.

Overall, there were 296 respondents to the Tech Pro Research survey. The survey dealt with the activities and relevance of CIOs throughout organizations and asked about the following topics:

  • Identify how the CIO affects the business and how it's perceived.
  • Determine what defines a successful CIO and how value is produced through his or her efforts.
  • Look at how CIOs bring about new ideas and motivate others to do the same.
  • Examine how the role has evolved and what traditional factors still empower the job.
  • Uncover whether advances in technology have had the ironic effect of rendering the CIO less significant to the company by virtue of self-service or relocated service.
  • Developments such as BYOD, outsourcing and cloud computing.

Download the full report, The CIO as a business catalyst: Role, relevance and value, to find out more about the relevance of the role of CIO. This report is free to all Tech Pro Research subscribers.

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