CIOs Struggle to Focus More on Strategic Tasks: Logicalis

Aligning internal technology with a more extensive use of managed services partners and cloud services is quickly becoming a priority for many CIOs.

CIOs must act now to take on a more strategic role or risk being pushed aside by line-of-business managers who are making increasing numbers of technology buying decisions, according to a survey by IT solutions and managed services provider Logicalis.

The study also showed that CIOs are acutely aware of the growing need to play a more strategic role within their organizations, with CIO respondents agreeing that line-of-business managers will gain more power over IT decision making in the next three to five years.

Aligning internal technology and operational optimization with a more extensive use of managed services partners and cloud services is quickly becoming a priority for many CIOs, the survey indicated.

For instance, 30 percent of respondents said they want to hand more day-to-day management activities over to specialized managed services providers, and 31 percent said they would like to consolidate the use of managed services, selecting single vendors to manage specific technologies and/or services across multiple territories.

"We predict that business innovation focused on creating a wider variety of solutions targeted at new business opportunities and challenges will drive a profound shift in the role of the IT organization," Chris Barnard, associate vice president at IT research firm IDC, said in a statement. "They must develop deep competence in all of these technologies, often with the help of third parties with expertise in as-a-service strategies."

The survey also found a consensus among CIOs working to create the dramatic shift in focus needed to impact their long-term relevance, with 63 percent seeing the streamlining and optimizing their technology infrastructure as vital to freeing their time for more strategic goals.

"These findings confirm the reality we see on the ground,” Ian Cook, CEO of Logicalis Group, said in a statement. "IT leadership is now actively looking for a services-led transformation strategy that will re-align from a technology-defined function to one that is services-defined. But CIOs are not only looking to transform their IT systems. We interpret these common themes as CIOs strive to change the way IT is perceived by the wider organization."

While nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of CIOs and IT directors want to spend at least half of their time on strategic activities, in reality, more than half of the CIOs and IT directors queried currently spend 70 percent or more of their time on the day-to-day management of technology, while 80 percent spend at least half of their time on low-value, non-strategic activities.

"Many CIOs see the use of managed- and cloud-based services as a way to unlock important resources without bearing the day-to-day operational responsibilities. They can achieve the agility necessary to keep up with today’s business requirements," Vince DeLuca, CEO of Logicalis US, said in a statement. "A relatively small percentage but rapidly growing number also see cloud solutions as a way to consume IT services directly from a provider."