Several different 2014 surveys have looked at The Future of IT from different angles but come up with similar advice for CIOs. An October 13, 2014 Logicalis Australia blog highlights the key findings from the Logicalis survey, under the confident title CIOs Speak Up: Service Defined Enterprise is the Future of IT. The first of the key findings is that Business Managers take a greater role in technological decisions. The blog gives the statistics and notes that “ Despite this, the tension between CIOs and Line of Business Managers remains, forcing CIOs to consciously adopt service-led transformations to maintain their relevance in the organisation.”
For Logicalis, Service Defined Enterprise is the way forward and the blog concludes:” With Gartner anticipating a ‘digital dragon’ – a force of digital disruption that is reshaping all industries – and Forrester claiming that the ‘future of every business is digital’, it is evident that the management of these key technology decisions is absolutely critical to an organisations’ survival. The Service Defined Enterprise represents the means by which CIOs can cope and thrive in this ever-changing IT world. To delve deeper into the findings of this Logicalis survey, download the full report ‘The Case for a Service Defined Enterprise’ on our website.”
The full Logicalis report has some interesting quotes from various survey participants, such as:
“The term quite often used around here for IT is ‘necessary evil’. The primary function of the organisation is selling to the customer through a staff person. They do not use IT for that. Only in the last year have we started looking at IT as an enabler for the sales staff.” – Head of IT for a large franchise retailer
Also quoted are some interesting statistics from other surveys, e.g.
“IDC estimates that 61% of technology spend is influenced or directly controlled by lines of business and that 17% is pure shadow IT – where IT is not involved at all.”
A 25/8/14 Huffington Post interview with Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Products and Chief Research Officer at IDC, provides more information on IDC’s concept of The Third Platform (IT that is built on mobile devices, cloud services, social networks and big data analytics.) It also reveals that IDC has its own take on the challenge to CIOs, “The CMO or the CDO is the CIOs best friend”, see IDC Chief Research Officer: CIOs Must Embrace The Third Platform
The IDC advice on the CMO/CIO relationship finds agreement in an Accenture Interactive 2014 international survey, ‘Cutting across the CMO-CIO divide’, although there appear to be some reservations about the CIO role (also see The Chief Digital Officer Debate in this Issue). The Accenture Interactive 2014 survey gives statistics showing that “In the digital world, functional silos—no matter how efficient or leading edge—no longer work, and chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs) are seeing the potential of collaboration.”
However, in a Section titled Coming unstuck on implementation the survey notes that “Despite agreeing on a common digital agenda, senior marketing and IT leaders are still struggling to work together well.” It is in this Section that the survey discusses the CIO, noting “Some companies are taking a different tack altogether and hiring chief digital officers,to cut across traditional functional silos.” In a subsection titled Chief digital officers disrupt the status quo, the survey suggests that “More than half (53 percent) of CDOs see no need to focus on integration between the Marketing and IT functions. In fact, CDOs are consistently less likely than their colleagues to see relationships with other C-level individuals and departments as important to their business priorities and strategic objectives. Perhaps their lack of interest in integration stems from their reliance on using external technologies, like the cloud, and agencies or small technology providers to support many of their initiatives. By using next-generation marketing services, CDOs are buying services differently compared to traditional CMOs and CIOs, circumventing the silo issue entirely and focusing on making their company a digital business.”
This is consistent with some of the views expressed in The Chief Digital Officer Debate in this Issue, but there are contrary views in that article, notably The Chief Digital Officer is dead (or at least should be).
The Accenture Interactive 2014 survey ‘s Section titled Obstacles to marketing notes that “problems with simply developing the wrong solution that was not embraced by users has risen considerably.” The subsection titled Getting it right for customers gives some interesting statistics on this: “CMOs and CIOs have both had challenges in the past implementing a solution that was not embraced by users, but the issue is only getting worse. Just last year a Fortune 500 company in the United States had to pull the plug on a major software investment that didn’t deliver the expected benefits”. Overall, twice as many marketers and IT executives noted this difficulty. The situation is even worse among CMOs, where the incidence tripled year over year (23 percent vs. 8 percent). For CIOs it occurs less often but still increased by 7 points over last year (21 percent vs. 14 percent).”
In the Section titled Making the most of digital opportunities, the survey is cautiously upbeat on the future for CIOs, noting that “With their can-do attitudes, bigger budgets and strategic focus, CIOs seem to be in touch with what needs to be done to unify the IT and Marketing functions and adroitly ride the digital wave.”
The survey goes on to suggest four imperatives for CMOs to square up with CIOs.
The results of another 2014 survey on this topic are given in an 8th September, 2014 CIO article State of the CIO 2014 A snapshot of how the CIO role is continuing to evolve. A key finding was that “CIOs no longer sit outside the business, and they know it. They are recognising the need to work closely with other c-level executives and are doing everything it takes to align themselves with business outcomes and priorities.”
Quotes from survey participants include:
“our IT objectives are closely matched to the organisation’s strategic plans and we have the governance and processes in place to ensure these are validated”
“It’s a matter of keeping that conversation going. The key is maintaining that trust in relation to the conversation with the board if there is a change in direction….There’s an enormous amount of management required [when there are] transformation issues within the organisation. So the conversation has to be fairly active.”
“The end goal for most IT departments would be to be viewed as a business partner (or enabler), although sometimes the cost of becoming dynamic will exceed the perceived benefits to the business. This is especially true as the IT industry changes and cloud becomes more apparent and IT services can be enabled and disabled as easily as turning a tap on and off.”
So based on those surveys, the overall answer to the question “Can CIOs Survive?” is that they can, but only by gaining support for a new IT Department role within the organization.