A new global research study from Lenovo reveals how the Chief Information Officer (CIO) role has evolved, shedding light on growing areas of responsibility and increasing influence in the C-Suite, as well as removing barriers to business growth.
Today, technology is the nervous system that connects corporate strategy, finance, innovation, operations, and talent. CIOs are increasingly tasked with connecting with key stakeholders across the organisation to ensure alignment and drive execution.
With IT enmeshed in every facet of a business, CIOs believe that their organisations must continue to invest in digital transformation to remain relevant. Key findings from Lenovo’s global survey of more than 500 CIOs include the following.
Role changes for CIOs
Nearly all CIOs surveyed believe their roles have evolved and expanded in the past few years, and that they are being asked to make business decisions that go far beyond technology.
9-in-10 CIOs felt that their roles and responsibilities have extended beyond technology. It includes non-traditional areas like data analytics and business reporting (56%); sustainability/Environmental, Social, & Governance – ESG – (45%); Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (42%); HR/talent acquisition (39%); and sales/marketing (32%)
Out of that, 82% of respondents say the CIO role has become more challenging compared to just two years ago. They face various challenges like increase use of AI and automation to talent acquisition in a global remote workforce.
CIOs also responded that they felt it was toughest to solve challenges related to data privacy and security (66%); cybersecurity/ransomware (66%); keeping up with technological changes (65%); managing fragmented IT vendor ecosystems (61%); and adopting/deploying new tech (60%).
CIOs role crucial in organisations
3 out of 4 CIOs believe they have a greater impact on their company’s overall fortunes compared to other C-Suite positions. 88% of respondents said their role as CIO is the most critical component for their organisation’s operations.
As the role of CIO continues to evolve, respondents said their technology vendors play a key role in their company’s success.
61% of respondents said they would be affected in no more than a few weeks if they were to stop spending on digital transformation initiatives. This shows that technology’s role is critical in a business.
With that, CIOs expect their vendors would help solve their problems in the coming five years. This includes increasing organisational agility (60%); providing security of their company’s systems and operations (52%); simplify configuration, deployment and maintenance of tech (50%); as well as optimise costs (43%).
8-in-10 CIOs felt their tech vendors are effectively integrated and therefore increases their overall productivity.
CIOs feel their current tech needs improvement
With all these challenges and evolving responsibilities, most CIOs feel that their current tech needs to improve.
If they were given a chance to start from scratch, 57% of CIOs wants to replace half or more of their company’s current tech. Comparing to the year before, 63% of companies are using more Device-as-a-Service in their tech stack and 92% of CIOs is considering adding new offerings over the next two years.
“Modern CIOs are the ‘mission control’ for their organisations. Their role has transformed drastically in just the span of the past 24 months,” said Ken Wong, President, Lenovo Solutions and Services Group.
“From navigating complex tech ecosystems to keep up with the speed of digital transformation, to upskilling employees and managing a global shortage of IT talent, today’s CIO is responsible for the entire technology value chain and beyond. Lenovo’s research demonstrates CIOs are up for the challenge. And they are looking to partner with their vendors to bring their organisations along and succeed.”
Research firm International Data Corp. estimates that by 2023, 60% of CIOs at companies world-wide will be primarily measured for their ability to co-create new business models and revenue streams, chiefly through enterprise-wide collaboration.
Yet Lenovo’s own research shows that it may be an uphill battle for CIOs, who have identified areas such as data privacy/security, cybersecurity/ransomware and managing a fragmented IT vendor ecosystem as their most challenging concerns.
“In this complex technological environment, CIOs want to innovate, not manage IT. As Lenovo’s research highlights, CIOs look to their technology vendors beyond just delivering the basics well – namely, increase organisational agility, simplify configuration, and optimise costs. IT leaders also need counsel and guidance on how emerging technology can enhance their business goals. The opportunities for technology to add real business value – right across the enterprise – are immense,” added Wong.
Industry forecasts by Technology Business Research indicate that Device Subscription Services are growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26% from 2020 to 2024 and data center subscription services are growing at 42% during the same period. As-a-Service solutions provide mission-critical support and services, enabling businesses to use technology to scale quickly, lower costs, and reap greater efficiencies.
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