Shift in CIO role towards advice, governance and security

The growing confidence of business departments such as finance and marketing in buying their own IT solutions is shifting the role of the CIO from a position of hands-on support to a more strategic role centred on advice, governance and security. 

That is one of the findings from a new report by BT Global Services, which suggested that this trend – dubbed "shadow IT" – is more prominent in the retail industry than it is on average.

Statistics included in the report show that shadow IT now accounts for 30% of an organisation's IT spend in retail, compared with an international average of 25%. In addition, the growing confidence of departments in buying their own IT solutions means CIOs are spending 22% more time and substantial additional budget on security.

Luis Alvarez, CEO of BT Global Services, said: "CIOs are perfectly placed to nurture creative uses of technology throughout their organisations while keeping a strategic view. Indeed, our research shows that the board expects nothing less."

BT's report, titled 'Art of Connecting: creativity and the modern CIO', is based on a Vanson Bourne survey of 955 senior IT decision makers in the US, UK, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Australia, Benelux and Singapore. Respondents operate in the banking, retail, energy & resources, transport and logistics, manufacturing and public sectors.

Some 70% of respondents in retail believe their board now recognises the need for a much more creative CIO, and they acknowledge that senior management are looking for individuals who can operate across the organisation, orchestrating technology and skills to deliver departmental or strategic business outcomes. 72% of those who answered the survey said the ability to be more innovative and creative is the biggest plus of their job.

Craig Charlton, CIO at jeweller De Beers, commented: "Creativity comes from really understanding your business issues, really understanding technology and being able to put those two things together.

"It's the fusion of a pressing business problem with a good command of what technology can do that leads to great ideas. And without creativity, you will end up with a role focused on transactional services and traditional IT, rather than looking to the future."

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Art of Connecting: creativity and the modern CIO