CIOs Disconnected From Business Execs

CIOs and their fellow executives have conflicting priorities on cost and competitors, says our 2012 State of the CIO survey

At Maple Leaf Foods, a $5 billion consumer packaged-goods company, IT doesn’t just respond to business decisions, it participates in the planning that leads to those decisions. For starters, CIO Jeff Hutchinson sits on the executive committee, and some of his IT leaders sit on business unit committees. In addition, non-IT managers report to the CIO, and several IT staffers report to those managers. The IT group influences what the company does and doesn’t do—which plants to close or expand, which acquisitions to make, which customers to cultivate—and a major part of Hutchinson’s bonus depends on meeting corporate profit goals.

Being the strategic partner that many CIOs say they want to be means so much more than just having an academic understanding of your company or industry, Hutchinson says. “Be part of the business. Be part of the decisions,” he says. “That’s different.”

This cross-pollinated, matrixed and hybrid business-IT world, however, is fantasy for most CIOs, according to our annual State of the CIO survey.

In its 11th year, the survey uncovers how the role of the CIO continues to evolve as business and technology change. Our

latest data
shows that while CIOs have gained strategic influence generally in the past few years, most—57 percent of the 596 IT leaders polled—say they are perceived as a service provider or technology-only collaborator. Another 21 percent say IT is unappreciated and misunderstood as a cost center.

For more survey highlights, see our special section graphing some interesting discoveries. Or read more about

a few of our key findings

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