A survey of the relationship between CIOs and CEOs exposed some worrisome facts about the state of the relationship between general business leaders and technology-focused business leaders. While it’s not surprising that CEOs and CIOs will have different approaches to businesses and might not always be personally compatible, the gap between CEOs and their company’s IT programs is still larger than it should be. The survey spanned 592 executives and was split equally between business and IT leaders; it had the following responses:
- Sixty-four percent of respondents feel that their CEO or other leader supports IT as a tool to improve business results. Hidden behind this statistic is the reverse one — well more than one-third of businesses have leaders that don’t think IT can help to drive business results.
- Fifty-four percent of respondents said that their CIO participates in developing business strategies. Again, this means that 46 percent of companies are making plans for their business without involving their CIO or his expertise. Given that most projects involve technology at one level or another, this could be a very expensive mistake.
- Half of respondents have positive impressions of their own company’s IT. Many companies don’t think that their IT department gets the job done. Of course, even “5 nines” reliability might not seem very good if the five minutes of downtime occurs when an important executive needs to access time-sensitive information. As such, this statistic measures perception as much as reality.
- Fewer than half of companies view their CIO as a business leader. Most companies maintain a brick wall between business and IT; in many cases, this separation is actively brick-and-mortared by a CIO that spends too much in his/her own department and not enough working with other business leaders.
- Forty-seven percent of respondents feel that the CIO doesn’t work with the company’s business units. Combined with the preceding statistic, this appears to indicate that the problem occurs in both directions.
As technology continues to infuse itself into every aspect of the business process, a thawing of CEO-CIO relationships is crucial for an organization’s continued success. As CEOs embrace the IT side of the business and as CIOs embrace the business side of IT, both can find an area in the middle where they can work together to grow profits.