- CIOs control a lion's share of enterprise spending and wield broad C-suite influence in many companies, according to research published Thursday by digital workspace platform provider Citrix, a division of Cloud Services Group.
- Nearly two-thirds of 3,300 executives said the CIO controls a majority of their company’s budget, and just over two-thirds said the CIO is second only to the CEO in terms of shaping and delivering the business strategy.
- With great clout comes great responsibility. Nearly half of CIOs interviewed for the report feel pressure to delay retirement, fearing there is nobody within the organization to replace them.
It’s no secret among executives that the role of tech leader has evolved and expanded, least of all to CIOs.
The job of tending to infrastructure and keeping the proverbial lights on gave way to shepherding digital transformation, cloud migration and other mission-critical modernization initiatives long ago. Analytics, automation and AI are also on the agenda.
But, today’s CIOs have a portfolio that reaches far beyond the tech stack, into areas such as regulatory compliance, ESG performance, customer experience, employee training and workforce recruitment.
As a result, many companies view CIOs as “de-facto COOs” who are responsible for the direction of the business, the report said.
CIOs feeling pressure to delay retirement spans sectors
Managing legacy systems and spending down technical debt are two traditional CIO functions that are still major challenges, according to two-thirds of C-level tech leaders.
But that’s just how a typical day begins for the CIO.
Three in five respondents said the CIO is responsible for meeting the technology needs of “everyone in the organization,” and more than two-thirds believe their organization’s success is “largely determined” by the strength of its tech leadership.
CIOs are feeling the pressure. Many are experiencing burnout and stress, according to a recent report by software development agency JetRockets.
Recruiting and retaining workforce is a particularly acute stressor. Nearly 7 in 10 C-suite tech leaders and 6 in 10 non-tech leaders pointed to lack of tech talent as a top business risk, the Citrix report said.
The skills crisis has reached the ranks of veteran staff, according to Citrix. Over two-thirds of C-level respondents reported a loss of experienced tech talent within their organizations, making it difficult for CIOs to cultivate successors.