Economist Research: Big Changes for IT, Larger Roles for CIOs

A perfect storm of change is striking the IT environment. A deluge of mobile devices has moved critical enterprise data beyond the data center to the edge. Core business systems have moved even farther — into the cloud. Global economic clouds have also made it harder than ever to predict IT needs and plan investments effectively.

How are you coping with these changes and the impacts they are having on your organization? Recognizing a need to help IT executives to keep pace with change, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) conducted a global survey, sponsored by Dell, among more than 500 C-suite executives from FedEx, Zappos, Verizon, and many other leading companies. The EIU polled these leaders about the challenges facing their organizations as they make IT business, strategy and purchasing decisions.

The Findings
Among the comprehensive research they found some significant trends. For example, some 70% of executives predict significant change in IT over the next three years. More surprising, they found that CEOs who involve their CIO in setting business strategy outperform their peers by 2 to 1 — but only 46% of CEOs think their CIO understands the business.

The survey had a particular focus on innovation and the alignment between the CIO and other C-suite colleagues. Ideally, business executives should be able to rely on their CIO for a briefing on the technical and business risks involved in new ways of using IT. But less than one half of C-suite respondents say their CIO has a good understanding of these risks; up to one-quarter say it’s poor.

Another major finding was the essential need for innovation, not just in technology but also in business models — everywhere from marketing to investment to sourcing talent. Clearly, in order to drive business success IT executives need to innovate and evolve to cope with change.

In short, by stepping up and facing the storm head on, IT leaders can turn the force of change into a powerful positive. From cutting-costs using the cloud to extracting new nuggets of knowledge from Big Data, innovative approaches can represent a turning point in the way CIOs drive business success. According to one of the C-suite executives surveyed, Chris Neilson, CFO of Zappos, “It seems like we’re on the verge of a next generation of capabilities, both in terms of how we use information technology within our company as well as how that technology helps us to engage with our customers.”

We hope the findings of this research can help you to become a more strategic partner with your C-suite colleagues and a key driver of change for the better.

Learn more about this research and its implications by reading the white paper.

Question:
Do you feel that your organization is aligned to meet this transformation over the next three years?

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