Putting the CIO`s Role in Perspective

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted 04-03-2008

Putting the CIO`s Role in Perspective

IT leaders don't think they're quite on par with other C-level executives, but very few believe the role will disappear, according to new research by CIO Insight.

In CIO Insight's April research report on the role of the CIO , we asked IT leaders for their take on six notable quotations about the role itself. Some were positive, others downright apocalyptic.

Check out the responses, and tell us what you think in our comments section, or e-mail us at editors@cioinsight.com.

QUOTE 1

"CIOs are now expected to deliver the solutions that make the enterprise different in a way that matters to company performance and customer satisfaction."

Mark McDonald, Group VP and heard of research, Gartner Executive Programs

 Strongly Agree         51%

 Agree                     46%

 Disagree                   2%

 Strongly Disagree       0%  

CIOs' strong endorsement of McDonald's comment shows they feel they do make a difference. That sentiment echoed the findings of CIO Insight's January research report on customer strategies.

Putting the CIO`s Role in Perspective

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QUOTE 2

"Ten years from now, you'll see very few CIOs."

Ian Campbell, CEO , Nucleus Research

 Strongly Agree           3%

 Agree                       9%

 Disagree                 59%

 Strongly Disagree     29%

Campbell, in our January cover story, said that while the value of information won't diminish, the role of the CIO will. Whether CIOs can't face reality or believe that the complexity of IT will require leadership for years to come, very few CIOs agreed with Campbell.

Putting the CIO`s Role in Perspective

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QUOTE 3

"The 21st century CIO will have little resemblance to the CIOs of years past, in background, time distribution and influence."

Bobby Cameron, VP and principal analyst, Forrester Research

 Strongly Agree         25%

 Agree                     55%

 Disagree                 18%

 Strongly Disagree       1%

No surprise here, really: IT prognosticators (including CIO Insight) have opined about the changing role of the CIO , which few have heavily disputed.

Putting the CIO`s Role in Perspective

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QUOTE 4

"The job of chief information officer ... will [be to] identify, collect and manage information as a resource, set corporate information policy, and affect all office and distributed systems."

William Synott, senior vice president, the First National Bank of Boston, in 1980, in the first use in an IT setting of the phrase "chief information officer."

 Strongly Agree         20%

 Agree                     63%

 Disagree                 16%

 Strongly Disagree       1%

Synott's summation, while groundbreaking, is almost 30 years old. Still, CIOs identify strongly with the belief that their jobs, while changing, still entail several core elements.

Putting the CIO`s Role in Perspective

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QUOTE 5

"There are some companies where the head of the information technology department is considered a leader on par with other C-level execs. But those companies are the exceptions, not the rule."

Ben Worthen, WSJ.com business technology blogger

 Strongly Agree         19%

 Agree                     51%

 Disagree                 27%

 Strongly Disagree       3%

Doubts about CIOs' strategic mindset have led many business leaders to consider the role of CIOs as less important than that of other top executives. Some CIOs have a seat at the table, but the dynamic changes from business to business, so there's no telling whether this sentiment will change in the near future.

Putting the CIO`s Role in Perspective

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QUOTE 6

"We've entered the long twilight of the CIO position, a sign that information technology is finally maturing."

Nicholas Carr, author, Does IT Matter? and The Big Switch

 Strongly Agree          5%

 Agree                     28%

 Disagree                 48%

 Strongly Disagree     18%

Carr's provocative views have been challenged passionately by CIOs and experts alike, but one-third of CIOs agree with him. Granted, though, this particular statement points more to the maturity of IT than to the imminent downfall of the CIO .

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