Are UK CIOs still not strategic enough?

A new survey has found that the number of CIOs sitting on the operational board has increased to 46%, from 43% last year. While that’s an improvement, the proportion is still worryingly low.

Recruitment and IT outsourcing service provider Harvey Nash got KPMG to survey over 500 CIOs from leading UK businesses. While some of the findings were cause for optimism about the role of CIOs — average salaries were up to £104,000 from £84,000 last year, suggesting perhaps that their value is being recognised — others are cause for concern. The gender disparity remains very real, with just 8% of CIOs being women, for example.

Many CIOs are aligning themselves more with the business, and even helping to take strategic decisions. 66% have already expanded their responsibilities for the coming year to involve strategic decision making in the broader needs of the business, specifically in logistics, business continuity and corporate change management. But that leaves a sizable group who have not.

With so many projects, from systems rationalisation, to business process management and service-oriented architecture now so dependent on the business to help drive them and make them successful, a CIO who is not strategically involved may struggle to get the business’ attention when it is needed.

No surprise, then, that the question that comes up time and again at our CBR Diners Club events is, ‘Yes, but how do I get business buy-in for this project?’.

Things are improving — 59% said that IT is now well integrated with the business, up 18% on last year. But there is clearly still work to do.

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