CIO State of Mind Report Offers Real-World Perspectives on IT Leadership Research

CIOs today are spending more time than ever before on digital initiatives and projects that have a direct impact on revenue, performance and other factors that contribute to the overall success and growth of the business. In fact, more than one-third of the IT leaders polled as part of IDG’s 2018 State of the CIO Survey say helping the company reach specific objectives is a mandate that comes directly from the CEO. CIOs not only view their role as more digital – and innovation-focused, but also more closely aligned with business-targeting mandates coming directly from the CEO.

Despite these objectives, however, a large portion of an IT leader’s time and efforts continue to be consumed by functional and operational responsibilities – especially those related to IT security. This trend is driven by the increasing complexity of IT systems that are woven into nearly every business activity, as well as heightened pressure to comply with government and private sector privacy and security regulations, notes Joel Jacobs, VP, CIO & CSO at The MITRE Corporation and CIO Executive Council (CEC) member, who has responsibility for all aspects of data and systems security at the company.

“Both our IT and security organizations have a seat at the table, so there are not many surprises when it comes to strategic directions. Our IT strategies and roadmaps are also very tightly integrated with our cybersecurity strategies,” says Jacobs in a special report researched and produced by the CIO Executive Council.

Front-Line Feedback on Digital Transformation Efforts

The CIO State of Mind report puts real-world context behind the research numbers by offering perspectives from 10 IT leaders representing public, private and higher-ed institutions. Their feedback paints a clear picture of how each executive is balancing digital transformation goals and functional IT mandates while keeping pace with changes and new demands in the IT organization.

The State of the CIO research, for example, notes the increasing cooperation between IT and line of business (LOB) managers within many organizations, with both camps focused on such common goals as driving company revenue and improving the customer experience.  Along those lines, the City of Raleigh, NC has launched an internal Information Resource Management Committee (IRMC) that brings together cross-functional teams of executives, including those from IT, to plan and prioritize the city’s technology investments each year.

“We go through each department’s business plan to understand their initiatives and how technology fits in,” explains City of Raleigh’s CIO Darnell Smith, and CEC member, in the special report. “IT leads the effort to collect and assess technology needs, but the IRMC makes decisions as a group on which initiatives will get top priority and how they will be funded.”

When asked in the IDG survey what is their most important role in driving company-wide digital transformation, a large percentage of CIOs (37%) pointed to their ability to innovate and identify which parts of the business could be digitally transformed using digital technologies.  Michael Smith, VP & CIO with the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and CEC member, agrees with this finding, pointing out that an IT leader’s two primary responsibilities are taking advantage of successful technology investments made in the past and influencing future IT technology directions.

“Innovation is central to any of these responsibilities because if an organization cannot innovate, it cannot survive,” he states in the special report.

The complete CIO State of Mind Special Report, as well as other research and briefings on key digital transformation and IT leadership topics, is available to members of the CIO Executive Council. For more information about joining the CEC, contact us.