- The majority of CIOs, 84%, say their role's effectiveness depends more on leadership skills than technological expertise, according to a ServiceNow survey of more than 500 CIOs.
- Only 20% of the survey's respondents were identified as top-performing, or level 3. Level 3 CIOs are able to build C-suite influence, while keeping an eye on customer experience and digitizing internal workflows.
- More than 80% of top-performing CIOs, or those "likely to report high levels of productivity, innovation and customer satisfaction," have highly effective collaboration with their CEO, according to the report. About half of top-performing CIOs reported high success in operation efficiency and speed to market. Less than one-third of the lowest-performing CIOs say the same.
Companies that take CIOs out of the back office are most likely to have success, especially in the digital age.
The role of the CIO has changed as a result of digital technology trends, giving those who hold the title deeper ties to the overall business strategy.
"The essence of digital is changing everyday," said Jeanne W. Ross, principal research scientist at MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research, speaking at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium in Cambridge, Mass. last month.
It becomes impossible for a company to re-architect itself to fit the digital economy if it doesn't have a CIO with leadership skills that transcend IT.
Companies are faced with having to "execute a constantly changing strategy," said Ross. Established companies have a more difficult time adjusting to digital economy structure because it requires disruption that only the CIO can control.
Digitization is a postmodern description of how things are done today. Digitization can be chalked up to "we do what we do today, but we do them so much better," said Ross. Companies can improve by adopting solutions in IoT, mobility and analytics.
But taking the plunge and adding disruptive technologies is scary. The adoption rates for technologies like AI, VR and 3D printers have slowed because of unrealistic expectations of the hype cycle. Even the public cloud has spurred organizational resistance.
Deciding which disruptive technologies are best suited for a company's mission is not a one time event. CIOs have to be constantly aware of which technologies will plateau and which ones are on the horizon.