Research: The Role of the CIO

CIOs are feeling the pinch of the current economy, according to their responses to CIO Insight's latest survey, and many are torn between their strategic aspirations and bean-counting reality.

21% of top IT executives left business posts to become CIOs

49%: the amount of their time CIOs spend on business issues

55%: the amount of their time CIOs wish they could spend on business issues

22% of CIOs cite "cost and budget pressures" as their top frustration

Its been another tough year for CIOs. Money is tight, budget pressures are high and the strategic imperative appears to be waning somewhat. The result: CIOs overwhelmingly agree they found 2002 more difficult than the previous year—which wasnt so hot either. This months CIO Insight survey of close to 400 CIOs on their background, roles and priorities reveals a growing tension between CIOs strategic aspirations and the bean-counting reality. Helping their companies realize their business strategies remains the top evaluation criteria for CIOs, and aligning IT with business needs is still the top priority, in the view of both CIOs and their bosses. But 40 percent of CIOs say their bosses view managing costs as one of their primary roles, while less than 20 percent view cost management as a primary role for themselves. Most notably, leadership skills replaced business understanding this year as the most important personal attribute required for success as a CIO, suggesting just how critical it is to be able to successfully guide corporations IT efforts through the rapids of economic volatility, business demands and technological complexity.