The State of the CIO 2011


One of my favorite things about January is the annual “State of the CIO” survey from CIO Magazine. There is some good stuff in this year’s report. What was most encouraging is their suggesting “the Great Recession has indeed abated.” That’s good news for everyone and they have some strong evidence to support it.

Here are some highlights from this year’s survey:

  • Fewer CIOs are actively involved in acquiring and retaining customers and controlling costs – but are spending more time improving productivity, shoring up security and expanding globally
  • CIOs plan to draw more heavily on strategy and change leadership experience
  • Business focused CIOs are more likely to report to the CEO
  • CIO compensation has declined – across all sectors
  • CIOs anticipate increased responsibility for business areas outside of IT
  • Healthcare IT budgets rose 13% this year while retailers slashed their IT budgets by 45%
  • Third parties (including cloud vendors) provide 22% of IT services today. That number is expected to rise to 34% by 2015 (which sounds low to me).
  • 41% said cloud computing will profoundly influence their role
  • Many CIOs want to spend more time on business pursuits

One of the best things I got out of this year’s survey was based on comments from Mark Shaver, CIO of Joy Global. Mark expects the cloud to transform how he manages the IT function. As “mundane IT work” moves outside of Joy Global’s walls, he expects he and his staff will provide more input into corporate strategy. His comments provided me one of the best definitions of “cloud transformation” I have seen to date.

There are some very encouraging trends but once again they are tempered by my belief some major misconceptions still prevail.

In a blog post I wrote last year, I noted a concern I had with CIO priorities for 2010. The first and third priorities (Aligning IT and business goals and IT Governance and Portfolio Management (PPM)) were listed as separate priorities. IT Governance is key to fostering IT/Biz Alignment, but Biz/IT Alignment was the #1 priority and Governance was #3. Yes, they were both high priorities, but having them listed separately continued to support my belief that many organizations do not fully understand and appreciate the connection between the two. (IT/Biz Alignment is one of the five principles of IT Governance.)

This year’s survey contains a very similar discrepancy. By the year 2015, 54% of the CIOs want to spend time driving business innovation but only 41% wanted to spend time aligning IT with business goals. How can an IT organization effectively participate in driving business innovation if it is not aligned with business goals? Maybe the 54% wanting to drive business innovation were assuming they would have completed aligning IT with business goals, but I doubt that is the case. Maintaining IT/Biz alignment is a never-ending quest.

And driving business innovation is one of the greatest, if not THE greatest benefit of IT Governance. I travel around the globe evangelizing the power and promise of IT Governance and these bullets are listed on my slide titled: “Benefits of Sustainable IT Governance”:

  • Executive leadership freed from day-to-day execution
  • IT freed from proving value
  • Focused on the future vision
  • Exploring avenues to leverage IT for competitive advantage

I think Mark Shaver’s comments shed some light on the bullets above. As he moves to cloud computing, he will be able to shed “some of the mundane work outside of IT,” affording him and his staff more time to provide “input into corporate strategy.” I believe sound IT Governance enables IT to function as a business partner enabling competitive advantage, largely because it frees IT leadership from “mundane IT work” and all of the negative connotations associated with this characterization. I just wish more CIOs and business leaders realized this and I will do what I can to get many to do so in 2011. I’m already looking forward to next January.

Published: January 14 2011, 05:57 PM
by Steve Romero @ CA


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