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The barriers to effectiveness - The DNA of the CIO - EY - Global

The DNA of the CIO

The barriers to effectiveness

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"There’s still an assumption from the business side that we simply deal with IT technology issues."
Kari Keskiivari
CIO, Neste Oil

Any CIO seeking to reshape their presence within the business will have several major hurdles to overcome:

  • Lack of support from the executive management team: Nearly 4 in 10 respondents regard this as a major issue. This is particularly true within larger companies with revenues of over US$1b, where nearly half the CIOs complain of this, compared with one in three of those in smaller firms.
  • Budgetary restraints: About one in three CIOs selected this as a major issue. Many businesses still regard IT as a cost center, or a function that can help disconnect the growth of a business’ top-line revenue with its overall costs. But for CIOs trying to help transform the business, funding limitations can be a suffocating constraint.
  • Perception gap: CIOs need to overcome an often poor historical perception of their role. Just about half of the C-suite executives think the standing of CIOs has improved in recent years. This is noticeable across a range of issues, but perhaps the starkest example is the degree to which CIOs help enable fact-based decision-making when setting corporate strategy. While 60% think they add strong value here, just 35% of their C-suite peers agree

Barriers to effectiveness for CIO role



(Open questions with multiple answers)

What the typical C-suite expects of the CIO


In interviews with a range of executives, a fairly consistent view of what the executive management team expects from the CIO emerges. They want:

  • The operational basics: running reliable, cost-efficient IT systems
  • Tight security: ensuring that IT risks and security are kept carefully under control
  • Technology consultancy: providing an informed, business-centric view of how IT can support and enhance the business, both in the short and long term
  • Change leadership: being an effective partner in leading change management projects
  • Flexibility: being able to fi t in with the shifting needs and demands of the business
  • Don’t rock the boat: finding the courage to challenge the executive team’s expectations. One of the implicit messages that emerges from this research is that the executive team often holds little expectation of the CIO. This is a risk, both for the CIO’s role and for the business.

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