Results from a global study of more than 3,000 Chief Information Officers (CIOs) released by IBM, reveal that for the first time, CEOs and CIOs are strategically aligned in their thinking around future challenges and complexity, with both groups focusing on insight and intelligence, client intimacy and people skills to drive organizational strategy.

The CIO Study shows that 57 per cent of CIOs anticipate more change and complexity in the next five years while 55 per cent of CEOs anticipate the same, according to the IBM’s 2010 Global CEO study.

For ANZ CIOs, investing in IT to deliver Insight and Intelligence is the number one priority to help drive organizational strategy by 2015, with 86 percent of respondents agreeing.

The findings showed that 60 percent of Australian and New Zealand CIOs view cloud computing as strategic and plan to implement it in the next five years, a significant jump from the 2009 study which indicated only 39 percent of ANZ CIOs were considering the technology at the time.

Additionally, the Study revealed that using business intelligence (BI) and analytics to gain a competitive advantage and improve efficiency is the top priority for ANZ CIOs.

Of the study’s 181 ANZ CIO respondents, 92 percent cited BI and analytics as the key tool to enhance their organizations’ competitiveness, compared with 83 percent of all CIOs. This was closely followed by 84 percent of ANZ CIOs who identified mobility solutions as the next best way to enhance their organizations’ competitiveness, compared with 74 percent globally.

“Strong alignment between CEOs and CIOs signals closer synergy in investment and resourcing priorities. Today’s CEOs recognize and understand that technology is front and centre in driving organizational change and taking the business forward. CIOs have a key role to play in reducing complexity and helping the CEO shape change and drive business innovation to achieve competitive advantage. The findings demonstrate a common focus over the next five years and priorities the IT agenda and defines how real value can be added by the CIO and IT overall,” said Matt English, Partner, IBM Global Business Services.

The findings also show 60 percent of ANZ CIOs view cloud computing as strategic and plan to implement it in the next five years, a significant jump from the 2009 study which indicated only 39 percent of ANZ CIOs were considering the technology at the time.

Interestingly, the study highlighted the difference in attitude between ANZ CIOs and their global counterparts when it comes to investing in self-service portals, collaboration and social networking within their organization. 77 per cent of ANZ CIOs plan to deploy self-service portals in the future, compared with 57 per cent globally and 68 percent of ANZ CIOs are looking towards collaboration and social networking tools as strategic investments for their organization, compared with 55 per cent globally.

As the role of the CIO transforms, so does the perception of the role within the business. The study indicates four distinct groupings/roles of the CIO which IBM has termed the CIO Mandates.

The four categories include:
  • Leverage – Streamline operations and increase organizational effectiveness
  • Expand – Refine business processes and enhance collaboration
  • Transform – Change the industry value chain through improved relationships
  • Pioneer – Radically innovate products, markets and business models
“The CIO mandate is the empowerment of the CIO to achieve the organization’s goals by leveraging business and information technology. These mandates will change for each organization depending on their strategy, their business cycle and where they are positioned in their IT journey. This Study provides key elements of the roadmap for CIOs into the future and insights into the importance of these mandates and how CIOs can use them effectively to help achieve business strategy,” said English.

Other key findings of the study include:
  • ANZ CIOs are more focused on virtualization investments (76 percent) in the future compared to their global counterparts (at 68 percent)
  • The majority of CIOs in Australia indentify themselves in the Expand Mandate (46 percent) with the Leverage Mandate accounting for the biggest difference between ANZ and Global CEOs (22 percent and 14 percent respectively) suggesting some caution in the local market place.
  • Almost half (42 per cent) of ANZ CIOs report directly to the CEO with the remainder reporting to the COO, CFO or other C-suite executives
“CIOs are increasingly seen as essential to the future success of the organization,” said English. “As the world increasingly becomes instrumented, interconnected and intelligent, the CIO role holds even more importance and potential. The Study illustrates that CIOs spend much less time and resource on running internal infrastructure, and more time on business transformation and strategy to help their companies grow revenue.”

These results and other insights are detailed in the Global CIO Study 2011 released today, which is the largest face-to-face survey of CIOs ever conducted. The study, titled ‘The Essential CIO’, represents the insights and vision of more than 3,500 CIOs from 72 countries, 33 industries, and organizations of every size. The study reinforces the increasingly strategic role CIOs play as visionary and business leaders in ANZ, and globally, and as drivers of business innovation and financial growth.

“The findings provide an understanding of how CIOs fit into their organizations, how they are positioned with CEOs, and how they can drive real value for their organizations into the future. As the global economy and parts of the Australian economy emerge from the GFC, it is important that IT is fully aligned with the organizations priorities and flexible enough to deal with changes that may occur,” concluded English.