Few CEOs think that CIOs can transition into a leadership role

by CXOtoday Staff    Apr 16, 2012

Majority of CEOs still regard their IT heads as technology specialists.

In an age of such digital disruption to business, many CIO roles remain underinvested, according to a study from Gartner.

In a survey of more than 220 CEOs in user organizations from more than 25 countries, Gartner found that most CEOs thought the best next step for their CIOs would be to do the same job in the same industry or in another industry. Few thought they would move on to a business leadership role.

“CEOs should re-examine the role the CIO plays today in business innovation and strategy,” said Jorge Lopez, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst at Gartner. “As the Information Age progresses, the risk of being blindsided by new forms of digital competition is rising.”

Gartner said that most CEOs still regard CIOs as itinerant specialists.

The CFO was, by far, the most cited close strategy advisor to the CEO in the survey, while CIOs were rarely mentioned.

Lopez said that if CEOs believe that they are the innovation leader of the firm, they must retain a close direct working relationship with the CIO in this age of rapid business digitization, or risk being blindsided. “CIOs must improve IT-related competitor intelligence, and use that information to build a productive relationship with the person the CEO sees as the leader of innovation.”

Gartner recommends CIOs and CEOs to discuss with each other what new information would help them manage the business better through uncertain economic times.

“We know most companies have weak management formalism over information strategy and governance; however, information variety, complexity and volume are rising exponentially. Muddling through without discipline will soon start to leave major companies vulnerable to new entrant competition,” Mark Raskino, Vice President and Gartner fellow.

He added that CIOs should spearhead the development of an information strategy for their firms, concentrating, in particular, on new kinds of information that might lead to industry disruptions and transformations.