by Sunil Shah

What Makes for Satisfied Indian CIOs?

Jul 20, 20144 mins
BudgetingBusinessCloud Computing

The characteristics of happy CIOs--versus unhappy ones--goes beyond money, CIO research proves. But it has plenty to do with it.

Happiness, they say, is a state of mind. But the numbers, they say otherwise.

According to CIO research, there are plenty of differences between happy and unhappy CIOs. And much of it boils down to how much they are paid, how much their IT budgets have increased, how their business peers perceive them, how much they outsource, what activity they spend most of their time on, their major challenge, their plans for the future, and the use of cloud computing.

CIO research asked Indian IT leaders a number of questions and then divided them into two groups: Those who said they were satisfied with their jobs; and those who said they were satisfied–but were looking to move to another job (the closest CIOs will go to saying they are unhappy).

The difference between the happy, and not so happy folks, came down to a number of factors, the first of which is money (surprise!).

On average, among the satisfied group, 74 percent said they had seen their compensations increase this year. That’s compared to only 60 percent in the satisfied-but-looking-to-move group.

Even the amount of increase each group saw differed. According to the survey, satisfied CIOs saw a 12 percent uptick in their pay–compared to only 10 percent in the other group.

Staying with the money-theme, 84 percent of Indian CIOs who say they are satisfied, also saw an increase in their IT budgets. A 21 percent increase, to be exact. In comparison, only 67 percent of CIOs who aren’t as satisfied with their jobs, saw their IT budgets increase. And they only saw a 13 percent rise.

The growth of their staffs’ salaries, however, didn’t see a difference between satisfied and less-than-satisfied CIOs. Just over 77 percent of happy CIOs said their staff’s compensation had increased–compared to 75 percent among unhappy CIOs.

Another factor that didn’t make a difference to a CIO’s happiness is their age. The average age of the happy CIO is 45.9 years, versus 45.8 years of the unhappy CIO. 

Satisfied CIOs reported that the major challenge their department faces is inadequate in-house skillsets. The biggest challenge for their less-than-satisfied brethren? Delayed decisions by the business.

Even the things they spend the most time on differs between happy and unhappy Indian CIOs. Satisfied CIOs said they spent most of their time interacting with IT vendors or service providers. Unhappy CIOs tend to spend time designing or optimizing business processes.

So what’s the most important IT management initiative unsatisfied CIOs are planning over the next nine months? Actually there are two, in a tie. The first is developing a strategy to improve security and risk mitigation, the second is improving business processes. In contrast, the most important IT management initiative happy CIOs are planning? Investing in systems that help their companies engage with customers or business partners.

How their businesses perceive them makes a difference to how satisfied CIOs are. Only 8 percent of happy CIOs say their business stakeholders view them as cost centers. In comparison, a full fifth of unhappy CIOs say their business peers see them as costs centers.

The amount their organizations outsource is also an indicator of a CIO’s satisfaction. The more they outsource, it seems, the less happy CIOs are. The majority of happy CIOs outsource between 11 and 20 percent of their organization’s IT needs. Unhappy CIOs, however, tend to outsource more, in the range of 21 to 30 percent.

Finally, happy CIOs tend to use hybrid clouds more. A full 48 percent of happy CIOs use a hybrid cloud model, and 38 percent use a private cloud model. Only 34 percent of unhappy CIOs use a hybrid cloud model. A majority, 43 percent, use a private cloud model.

Who said happiness isn’t a number?