CIO Is Role with the Changes in '08

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If you are looking for some interesting food for thought, there's a veritable feast in CIO.com's annual State of the CIO survey.


ZDNet blogger Larry Dignan does a good job of condensing the big package of coverage on CIO.com, which includes several advice-heavy articles, brief profiles of six CIOs selected as "IT leaders who matter," a self-assessment tool and links to previous years' studies.


As Dignan notes, 51 percent of survey respondents describe themselves as a "transformational leader." According to CIO.com's definition, this means they redesign business processes, meld IT with business needs and tinker with new architectures. Thirty-seven percent see themselves as "function heads," whose duties include managing IT projects, developing talent and improving operations. The smallest group of respondents, 12 percent, say they are "business strategists," who are focused on customer insight and business innovation.


Respondents spend the most time, 40 percent, with their IT teams. How they divvy up the rest: company executives (22 percent), non-IT employees (18 percent), vendors and service providers (11 percent) and customers and partners (9 percent).


These numbers could go a long way toward explaining the relatively low percentage of strategists. Logically, becoming a strategist entails spending more time with customers and partners.


Forty-one percent of CIOs report to CEOs, which is often seen as a sign of the relative importance of IT within a company. The truth is likely more nuanced, however, as I've blogged before. Recent studies indicate that there is often a CEO/CIO disconnect in expectations for IT -- regardless of whether the CIO meets regularly with the CEO.


Respondents say their top five technology priorities for 2008 are integrating/enhancing existing systems and processes; business intelligence; ensuring data security and integrity; new business services/products; and collaboration/knowledge management.


My sarcastic side begs me to add: "Gee, is that all?" If this list isn't proof that CIOs tend to haveincredibly full plates, then I don't know what is.


The salaries paid to the CIO.com survey respondents seem pretty well in line with other surveys, including one released earlier this year by recruiting company Harvey Nash, that put the average CIO salary at $163,000. Both Harvey Nash and CIO.com found that CIOs at larger companies tend to make far more.