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CIOs need to sell the value of technology to the business

Jack Loo | Oct. 22, 2012
A global survey conducted by Ernst & Young says CIOs need to do more before being counted as members of the executive management team.

CIOs might have the technological expertise, but they are not perceived to have the right level of business skill - limiting their potential for change, according to an Ernst & Young survey on CIOs worldwide.

The report, DNA of the CIO, which interviewed over 300 senior IT professionals globally, also draws on in-depth interviews with a further 25 CIOs and 40 respondents from across the rest of the C-suite.

"The lack of support, as indicated in the survey where CIOs think they are adding more value to the business than their C-suite peers, stems from the fact that CIOs are not necessarily and sufficiently 'selling' the value of technology to the business," commented Gerry Chng, partner, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young Advisory.

"For example, when making mobile e-mails possible, the value that CIOs need to communicate across the business is how this IT change is helping to improve business productivity; and not just the change itself," added Chng.

In the report, less than half (48 percent) of the C-suite executives think the standing of CIOs has improved in recent years on a range of issues, from product innovation through to helping deliver on the operational agility of the company.

While 60 percent of the interviewed CIOs think they add strong value to fact-based decision-making when setting corporate strategy, just 35 percent of their C-suite peers agree, resulting in just 43 percent of CIOs reporting that they are deeply involved in strategic decision-making.

This low level of involvement is reflected in nearly four in 10 respondents reporting a lack of support from the executive management team as a major issue, particularly within larger companies with revenues of over US$1 billion (46 percent).

For CIOs to get on equal terms with the C-suite, they need to focus on earning the trust by delivering quick wins and selling to their peers how such technological successes are creating real value for the business, commented Chng.

"CIOs should also go back to fundamentals on project management to ensure that business units have an active voice in IT projects and are regarded as key stakeholders for the entire project lifecycle," added Chng.


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