CIOs feeling unloved and ignored

Oct 03 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

British chief information officers feel increasingly marginalised and unhappy about their role, despite the growing influence of technology within the workplace.

A study by recruitment consultancy Harvey Nash of more than 650 British CIOs and senior technology professionals has found one in 10 believe their role is becoming less, not more, strategic and more than half expect to move jobs within the next two years.

While nearly half of CIOs do now sit on the board just a third report directly into the chief executive, the survey, which was carried out with consultancy PA Consulting, also found.

While an apparently healthy six out of 10 felt the CIO was becoming more strategic, this was a 15 per cent drop on a similar survey carried out last year.

Intriguingly, this drop in confidence was not confined to CIOs. Nearly half of chief finance officers said they now viewed IT solely as a support function with no need for board representation.

A perceived failure to deliver on innovation was the main reason for this, with nearly two thirds of businesses saying they did not have a structured approach to IT innovation.

Even when they did innovate, more than three quarters reported only reasonable or limited success.

As a result, more and more senior IT professionals now appear to be on the move, with more than a quarter claiming they would leave their current role in order to have more hands-on involvement in business strategy, the survey found.

Nearly three out of 10 were already actively looking for a new position.

John Whiting, managing director of UK IT business at Harvey Nash, said: "It is a concern that the strategic influence of CIOs has eroded in recent years, but even more worrying is the restlessness this creates in the sector.

"This year alone has seen a 15 per cent increase in the number of technology leaders occupying their current role for less than a year.

"The most effective and satisfied CIOs will remain those embraced by main boards, and those in environments which fully comprehend the critical influence of IT upon a company's success," he added.

"In return, senior IT professionals clearly have to continue to prove that their contribution is intrinsic to success and growth," he concluded.