TotalCIO

Nov 18 2008   1:55PM GMT

IBM survey: CIO leadership skills rank high, business clout lower

Linda Tucci Linda Tucci Profile: Linda Tucci

A new survey on CIO leadership from IBM finds that you’re pretty pleased with yourselves. Congrats.

According to the survey, taken in July, 91% of CIOs see themselves as leaders of their IT organizations, possessing a clear vision of how IT can drive the business forward. Ninety percent said they have the ability to influence others, even without formal authority. Eighty-seven percent enjoy “strong executive relationships.”  

It seems that CIOs also did their best to prime their people for the economic pain ahead. Eighty-five percent told IBM that they are leading initiatives to ensure their organizations are “flexible for change.” Even better? Eighty percent report that they are regarded by their colleagues as a leader of change and transformation within their companies.

The survey results are based on responses from 300 CIOs in 45 countries and 32 industries across the globe. 

The fly in the ointment for the technocrats of the executive suite?  The business doesn’t think quite as highly of you, as you do of yourselves.

Compared with the overwhelming majority who saw themselves as masters of their IT domain, “only 67% are active participants in developing business strategy,” according to the survey.

Sixty-seven percent doesn’t sound so bad to me, judging from the CIOs we hear from. But a perusal of the 2007 results from IBM’s inaugural CIO leadership survey suggests CIOs have lost a bit of ground on this front in the last 12 months. Last year, 69% of the CIOs surveyed said they had “significant involvement in strategic decision-making.”

There are other indications that CIOs still function as the Rodney Dangerfields of the enterprise. 

In contrast with the 90% who said they are leading and influencing across the organization, even when they lack formal authority, only 74% of the CIOs surveyed say that their business colleagues are aligned with their vision. In addition, only 80% say they are regarded as trusted advisors to their business colleagues.

Finally, many of the survey respondents also ‘fess up to falling short on the mantra du jour for the ambitious CIO:  IT-enabled business innovation. Less than two-thirds of those surveyed (63%) said they have successfully “secured resources for innovation by identifying technology-enabled business opportunities.”

You can access the detailed analysis of the survey results and learn more about the “opportunity gaps” for CIOs by registering at the IBM link above.

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