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CIOs Say There's No Time to Innovate

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Most of the readers coming to our site rank working with a good team ahead of other factors in terms of job satisfaction. Even more so than being paid fairly.

A lot of those readers are CIOs.

So while we know what's making some CIOs happy at work, how are they spending their work days? Constellation Research reports that while CIOs prefer to spend their time on innovation projects, most spend their time trying to reduce the cost of IT delivery.

The findings came in Constellation's annual survey on CIOs — "The Evolving Role of the CIO in an Era of Digital Disruption" — released this week. "In the shift toward dominating digital disruption, CIOs can only move as fast as their organization’s DNA will allow while driving transformation," wrote Constellation's R "Ray" Wang, founder and principal analyst.

CIO Examined

No doubt, the CIO has been a central figure in business executive governance structure lately. We've discussed this month the prospects of the CIO reporting to the CMO. We've broached the topic of the CIO role even fading away, morphing into new roles with new responsibilities.

It got people talking, for sure.

Wang and Constellation break down the role of the CIO into four personas: chief integration officer, chief innovation officer, chief infrastructure officer and chief intelligence officer.

"We see four personas that are driving the morphing," Wang told CMSWire in an interview this week. "The goal of the CIO is to shed all the infrastructure so they can innovate and help in the digital efforts that are emerging."

Through this morphing process, Wang said the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer will be "essential for the new age of digital business."

So what should today's CIO be charged with in the middle of this mobile, automated explosion in tech?

CIOs," Wang told us, "have a role in ensuring balance across the organization. They should have a mandate on making sure the technology platforms have a long-term: not 10 years, not five, but at least a three-year payback horizon." 

Changing Role?

We discussed this week how the CIO, once considered the "smart folks" in the building, are by far not the only ones anymore when it comes to technology. 

About 10 years ago, Wang conceded the CIO was nothing short of a rock star.

"The CIO 10 years ago was king or queen," he told CMSWire. "They controlled large budgets, called the shots, believe they would transform the business via tech. Today, post 2008 crash, they are a cost center, some barely have a seat at the management table and are focused on driving down costs and have little time to innovate."

Report to Whom?

So who does Wang see the CIO reporting to? The Money Executive.

"CIOs are reporting to the CFO. That means cost structure galore," Wang said. "If business reported to IT, nothing would be done because IT needs to keep things safe, secure and a sustainable platform for ROI. Business needs tech to be simple and scalable without IT involvement. And sexy."

What is Wang's ideal reporting structure in the C-Suite?

CIO reports to CEO.

"CIOs should report to the CEO or head of operations because you want to make sure there's enough investment in innovation and alignment with business needs," he said.

Ultimately, he said, the CIO could use more business savvy and time to innovate. And less infrastructure and legacy cost structures.

"CIOs are typically relegated to reporting to the CFO and have little say in innovation projects," Wang wrote in his report. "Short of a merger, a new CEO or burning platform, very little innovation will happen on a proactive basis."

Title image by Tonis Valing (Shutterstock).

 
 
 
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