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CIOs playing catch up: innovation vital

12 Jan 2016

CIOs are being left flat-footed and playing catch up in the wake of the 3rd Platform era, according to a new study from IDC, who says they are feeling the pressure of keeping costs down, to innovate and to maintain a consistent infrastructure.

According to the study, The Changing Role of IT Leadership: CIO Perspectives for 2016, more than 40% of line of business executives see the CIO as the innovation officer responsible for leading DX.

The study reveals the way in which CIOs view themselves has a direct impact on how they view the job in which they function and their relationship with LOB executives.

Of the 150 CIO respondents, 40.7% viewed themselves as operational, 34% viewed themselves as service managers, and 25.3% viewed themselves as innovation officers.

Conversely, 40.9% of LOB respondents view their CIO as an innovation officer, with only 27.5% viewing their CIO as operational. According to IDC, this is indicative of the challenge that CIOs face in evolving their role, where having to meet operational requirements is holding some back from meeting the new expectations of their business counterparts.

"CIOs who stay operational will find themselves further marginalised over the next three years,” explains Mike Jennett, vice president of research for Enterprise Mobility in IDC's IT

“For these executives to stay relevant, they must shift their focus to transformation and innovation and incorporating those innovations into their stable infrastructures,” he says.

“'Just keeping the lights on' will lead the business to find other sources for technology leadership and innovation," Jennett adds.

IDC predicts that through 2018, two-thirds of CIOs will have embraced Leading in 3D, which requires them to simultaneously innovate, integrate, and incorporate:

·       Innovate within a cross-functional partnership to create digital innovations

·       Integrate new technology platforms into stable business services

·       Incorporate new skills, techniques, and culture into the fabric of the IT organisation

According to the report, there are correlations between how CIOs view themselves and how they view their main area of focus.

The report says 67.2% of operational CIOs will be focusing on innovation, while only 26.3% of innovation CIOs will put their focus there. As a result, IDC concludes that operational CIOs are getting the message.

IDC says in order to be competitive in this rapidly changing environment of digital transformation, the IT organisation and the CIO must undergo a transformation from a focus on operations and service brokering to a focus on partnership, innovation, and new, digitally-enabled products and services.

"Our research notes a fundamental shift in the role of CIOs as seen by themselves and the business because of the 3rd Platform and digital transformation,” Jennett explains.

“While many CIOs have embraced this change, there is still a large percentage that will benefit from evaluating their organisations as well as their relationship with their business counterparts as they continue on this journey," he says.

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