Deloitte CIO Survey Finds Gap Between Business Expectations and IT Capabilities

In a survey of 1,217 technology leaders across 23 industry segments in 48 countries, Deloitte found that substantial gaps exist between business expectations and IT capabilities, in key areas including innovation and cybersecurity. Here are the highlights:

57% of CIOs report that the business expects them to assist in business innovation and developing new products and services, but over half state that innovation and disruption priorities currently do not exist or are in the process of being built.

61% of CIOs identify cybersecurity as a core expectation, but only 10% report cybersecurity and IT risk management are a top business priority.

70% of CIOs said they are expected to lower cost of operations while improving service levels to drive business performance, but only 27% identified delivering complex technology projects as an important skill.

67% of CIOs reported that the business leaders expect them to reduce IT costs and drive efficiency, while 66% stated they are also expected to maintain the same or better availability and performance of IT systems.

47% of CIOs recognized IT capabilities around disruption and innovation as essential to their success, but 52% said these capabilities do not exist or are currently being built, while only 21% chose ‘understanding of markets and disruptive business forces’ as a current strength.

Business priorities are focused on customers and innovation, says the Deloitte report, while IT capabilities are still lagging in these areas, which is where CIOs can play a critical role. Yet the business expectations for CIOs still focus on maintenance, efficiency, cybersecurity, and business process improvement.

These gaps between business and IT may stand in the way of CIO inspirations. Deloitte classifies CIO types into three categories: “Trusted operators” ensure operational excellence, “change instigators” enable large business transformations, and “business co-creators” focus on revenue and growth. The survey found that 55% of CIOs report their current type as trusted operator and 34% as business co-creator, but 66% of all CIOs surveyed say their ideal state is business co-creator.  The report quotes Vittorio Cretella, CIO of Mars Inc.: “In the midst of digital disruption, I see a tectonic shift in the importance of technology to the business value proposition. Timely and effective access to data is no longer about IT – it is central to the business agenda. As a result, CIOs need to be strategic co-pilots, shaping business plans alongside their peers to ensure success.”

But this is a difficult challenge. The survey found significant gaps between CIO aspirations and what they thought were their current strengths: 64% said “influencing internal stakeholders” was an ideal characteristic, but only 47% identified it as a current strength; 48% said “attracting and retaining talent” was an ideal characteristic, but only 35% identified it as a current strength; and 71% said “steering technology vision” was an ideal characteristic, but only 61% saw it as a current strength. The good news? 35% of the CIOs responding to the survey said they report to the CEO.

Tim Glinatsis, CIO of General Dynamics subsidiary Bath Iron Works, summarized the survey results: “If you are not listening very carefully and don’t have your ears planted all over the business, you will miss what the changes are and you end up being irrelevant. You have to learn how to speak business so you can understand it and then listen for it.”

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