How Do CIOs Hit the Sweet Spot?

Well, as usual, technology chiefs are under pressure. The stressors of maintaining equilibrium while pushing a progressive agenda are being felt. Which takes priority, the tactical or the strategic, the everyday or the long-term? ZDNet’s Mark Samuels taps into research and interviews to flesh out the hoopla with some solid facts.

Complex Demands of Transformation

Eighty-five percent of CIOs acknowledge the changing nature of their role, namely that a traditionally operational role is becoming a transformational one. Yet the demands of transformation are never straightforward, but instead can be broken down into three primary categories:

  • Changing demands of customers
  • Requirements for innovation
  • Pressures of ever-increasing data

Missing in Action

As the technology itself becomes more amenable to the end user, the CIO faces a unique problem – that the user is almost too savvy to service. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed say the business is now sourcing its own products without any input from IT. Certainly, a thirst for new technology and innovation is not the problem faced by IT leaders. Digital demand is at its highest point ever. Unfortunately, the business is still identifying IT with its traditional functions:

The digital opportunity, in short, matters but CIOs will still be expected to direct a great deal of their attention towards operations. Almost three quarters (74 per cent) of IT decision makers agree that the CIO currently spends more time maintaining existing IT systems than searching for new solutions to business challenges.

The Sweet Spot

But it isn’t all bad news for the chief of IT. After all, what could be better than heading a technology department when the entire business is turning into a great big technology factory? Sure enough, business results are being asked of CIOs, meaning the train hasn’t entirely left without its conductor. Perhaps, in spite of all the data on this subject, it’s just a matter of hitting the sweet spot.

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