CIOs want to move from technology to business leadership

The Future Role of the CIO-Becoming the Boss

The impact of technology on how we do business today is universal. Companies that have built strategy around the opportunity and advantages technology provides are already seeing greater performance, productivity and flexibility to propel them ahead. What technology can do for your business is not in doubt. Who should lead its advance in today’s boardrooms however is far less certain.

The attitudes of business executives are less progressive it seems than the capability of IT for transformation. Our global study into the future role of the CIO in business reveals just 4 per cent of Chief Executives in the world’s top companies previously served in a technology leadership role. Congratulations if you are in the minority. For the rest, we believe the time is right for a new mindset.

As the sources of competitive advantage become ever more connected to technology, the business leaders of tomorrow need a window into this digital world. Business strategy is no longer discrete from IT. Setting a course then asking IT to deliver on the vision misses the huge opportunity for building strategies that optimise technology advances as they happen. Cloud computing is a great example of a catalyst for business agility, driven by disruptive technology, that has seen early adopters already realise significant value.

Chief Executives would do well to think differently. Our report indicates modern CIOs are not just technologists. They have the necessary business acumen, commercial ability and people management expertise to add considerable strategic value to the business and its shareholders. What they lack is the opportunity to externalise these with customers and partners, and all too often they lack a forum to share their unique insight with their own leadership team in the boardroom.

With the rapidly increasing intersection of business and IT driven by cloud computing, CIOs too see a new landscape of opportunity to drive business strategy with technology at its core. 54 per cent of CIOs in our report have aspirations to use their role as a gateway to general business management positions and many consider themselves as a contender for future Chief Executive.

Now is the time to reconsider the outdated belief that CIOs are not equipped for high-level management and explore a new way of thinking about who is best placed to become a business leader of tomorrow. Affording your CIO the opportunity to advance towards Becoming the Boss could be the best strategic decision your business can make.

The report includes industry opinion from Hudson Europe, UK Executive Search, Boyden. Academic viewpoints from Cranfield School of Management, and from two former CIOs who are now CEOs.

CA Technologies commissioned independent specialist technology market research company Vanson Bourne to undertake the global research upon which the “Becoming the Boss” report is based. 685 telephone interviews were conducted during summer 2011 amongst CIOs in organizations of 500 or more employees in the telecoms, retail, financial and manufacturing sectors. Country breakdown: 30 CIOS were interviewed in each of the following countries: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux, Austria/Switzerland, Israel, the Nordics, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Canada, the USA, and 15 within Portugal.

In addition, the careers of 685 current CEOs within businesses of the same size, country locations and vertical markets were tracked through online research. The CEOs were selected from companies in the Forbes’ 2000 list of the World’s Biggest Public Companies (calculated April 2011). Revenue and number of employees were identified using resources such as Business Week and Reuters, along with the previous role, overseas experience and professional qualifications of each CEO.

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