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The State of the CIO: The Survey

The State of the CIO: The Survey

A year after our first “State of the CIO” survey, more than 280 IT leaders tell us they’re spending more time on alignment and security issues. And, unlike their US counterparts who cite wrestling with scarce resources as their number one barrier to effectiveness, local CIOs say it’s an issue, but not top of mind.

Pity the poor CIO. That's the sentiment you might be inclined to believe if you based it on the mewlings of the press (present company excluded, of course). The flow of dark reports and ominous observations seems as endless as it is despairing; IT budgets slashed, difficulty proving IT’s value, projects over time with costs blown out, the CIO role growing less strategic and being relegated to a glorified maintenance position . . . the list goes on and on.

But save your pity. The CIO role is alive and well. More important, the CIO remains a strategic position within most organizations — at least according to the 284 local CIOs who responded to this year’s “The State of the CIO” survey, and represent more than $4.6 billion in IT spending power.

Perhaps your sympathy might be better directed at your US brethren who are faring far worse, and are indeed losing some very important ground. For example, while more local CIOs are reporting to their CEOs this year (35 percent) than last year (28 percent), your US counterparts went backwards with more than twice of them now reporting to their CFOs (22 percent) than the previous year (11 percent). Perhaps it’s a sign of the poor economy in the US where the focus is on containing costs. Pity the poor US CIO.

Another indicator that things are going swimmingly for local CIOs is that the title itself is increasingly popular. Last year just over 17 percent of respondents indicated that they had the CIO title, while this year the number shot up to 24 percent.

Here are some other bits of good news: 51 percent of you are part of your organization’s executive management committee. 88 percent of you are responsible for setting the IT architecture and standards that guide the independent IT decisions of divisions, business units and departments. You are communicating in force with your users (the majority — 46 percent — as frequently as weekly). You are working closely with business units at all stages of a project, from authorization to post-completion assessment. And the overwhelming majority have in place either a cross-functional IT steering committee that governs IT investment decisions (39 percent) or an executive council that does the same (36 percent).

Oh, and all those reports of projects running amok and signalling the death knell for CIOs? Wrong again. Only one CIO reported that he (or she) had got the boot at some point in their career due to a failed project.

In the coming months we’ll explore in-depth various areas of the survey, including communication skills, remuneration, CXO relationships, governance and challenges. Meanwhile, in addition to our overview of the survey results, we’re kicking off with an article that looks at the six best practices CIOs say are must do’s to be an effective CIO.

But before you read on, take a minute and celebrate being a CIO.

The State of the CIO 2004 Survey Methodology

CIO’s second annual “State of the CIO” survey was administered through telemarketing during October and November 2003. CIOs, directors of IT and other senior IT executives were randomly selected from our circulation file and invited to take the survey. The survey findings shown are based on the responses of 284 heads of IT from a broad range of industries, with an annual IT spend of more than $4.6 billion.

Much like last year, this study asked top IT executives about their career paths, including functional background, tenure, salary and the key skills needed for the role. We surveyed respondents about the job of CIO — reporting structure, greatest challenges, budget and staffing responsibilities and the user environments supported by their IT organizations.

This year’s survey went further in examining the CIO role and identified the best practices for effectively managing IT and partnering with the business units.

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

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