Mobile technology is increasing CIO’s IT budgets and driving recruitment as CEOs look for growth and demand CIOs deliver it, the 2012 CIO Survey from Harvey Nash reveals.

The global survey found that 56 per cent of CIOs are launching projects that make money for their organisations rather than saving money as the CEO’s priorities switch towards growth, emerging markets and new technologies. CIOs report they are seen as the key to unlocking potential growth that organisations have been starved off since the banking crisis led to an economic downturn.

The Harvey Nash CIO Survey, one of the most reliable surveys of CIO sentiment, found that globally 71 per cent of CIOs believe their organisation needs to “embrace new technology otherwise they will lose market share”. Mobile technology is cited by the survey respondents as the driver from both customers and CEOs. The research shows that 58 per cent of CIOs responding are actively developing mobile and tablet applications and 20 per cent are very active in development.

This rush to mobile is in turn giving CIOs a budget increase as 44 per cent reported that their budget had increased for 2012, an increase from 39 per cent last year. Not only are technology budgets increasing, the CIO is graining overall control of their IT spend. Last year seven per cent had control over the majority of spend; this has increased to 11 per cent in 2012.

As ever, there is a double edge to this trend. Although budgets and CEO demand for IT benefits have increased, CIOs are also discovering a skills shortage in all economies and that retention of key staff is increasingly challenging. Demand for workers with mobile skills has increased by 21 per cent, up from 14 per cent a year ago and related to this, demand for security skills has increased by 17 per cent, up from 13 per cent in 2011 and again related to the mobile trend, demand for social media skills has increased by 15 per cent from 11 per cent in 2011. 

Adam Gerrard, CTO at The LateRooms Group and CIO 100 member told Harvey Nash: “In a consumer driven world where global competition has removed the old constraints of geographic boundaries, attracting, developing and retaining world class with a global mindset is by far our biggest challenge.”

CIOs said that a quarter of their workforce consists of flexible workers for 75 per cent of respondents. Harvey Nash believe the demand is being driven by a slowly improving US economy under President Barack Obama.

Enterprise architects and business analysts (BA) remain in demand by CIOs, although they have been eclipsed by the need for mobile, social and security experts. Thirty five per cent of CIOs said they had a demand for enterprise architects, an increase of one per cent since 2011 and demand for BAs dropped a percentage point, but 34 per cent of the survey respondents require BA skills in their enterprise. Retaining existing talent was cited as the largest human resources issue in IT for 35 per cent of the global CIOs responding. Harvey Nash, a recruitment firm, believes this is recognition by CIOs that the employment market is improving.

CIO UK concurs; recent discussions with CIOs across the country and in a wide variety of vertical markets, from engineering, construction, public sector, financial services, retail and manufacturing all indicate retention and recruitment as a major challenge.

“This year the focus is on growth,” remarked Harvey Nash Chief Executive Albert Ellis of the results. Overall the majority of CIOs around the world are working on growth or strategic responsibilities in their organisations. The survey found that 56 per cent are developing revenue generating projects instead of the focus on cost control that has dominated the CIO survey in recent years. CIOs responsibilities are therefore becoming more global with 60 per cent telling the survey that their job remit crosses national boundaries and 68 per cent said the CIO role will continue to become more strategic.

This strategic, globally focused and revenue generating CIO community has also become more accepting of social media and perhaps the trends are related. The survey found that 82 per cent of respondents now allow access to social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and that the CIOs are confident they have sufficient cultural change in their organisations to ensure that the brands of their organisations are well represented on these channels.

This in turn, Harvey Nash found, is leading to greater cooperation between the CIO and the chief marketing officer (CMO) as responsibility for digital media is shared between the two C-level roles in 43 per cent of responding organisations, an increase from 10 per cent last year. Like CIO UK, Harvey Nash sees a challenge for CIOs here as the need to ensure data security while promoting innovation and collaboration is acute.

The level of board representation is increasing, albeit by two per cent with 52 per cent of respondents on an operational board, an increase of 10 per cent since 2010. Reporting lines to the CEO is also on the increase as the CIO becomes more strategic. Improving the time it takes new products to get to market was seen as a strategic priority for 24 per cent of respondents, 15 per cent see their role in supporting mergers and acquisitions as key, an increase from 12 per cent last year and 22 per cent see the development of mobile commerce as their strategic objective in 2012, up from 17 per cent in 2011. 

CIOs said that compliance continues to increase pressure on them and their teams, 16 per cent said their organisation was not well placed manage existing and future regulations, an increase on the 11 per cent that made the same claim in 2011.

On CIO’s careers, the survey found that 29 per cent have changed role in the last year, but that 82 per cent were fulfilled by their existing role. Those that did or are looking to move say a new challenge is the main reason in 34 per cent of cases while 28 per cent are seeking more involvement in the business strategy.

Harvey Nash found that the global average survey for CIOs has increased by 2.9 per cent to $203,986 (£126,857), but that 61 per cent expect their salary to remain frozen in 2012, an increase on 50 per cent in 2011.

For the first time Harvey Nash surveyed the state of the global female CIO community and found representation to be “highly unrepresentative of the population at large” with 93 per cent of respondents being male. But not only are there too few female CIOs, the overall number of women IT workers is very low, 24 per cent of CIOs responding have no women in their technical teams. Yet 51 per cent believe women can improve relationships between the business and IT.

The CIO Survey is made up of the responses of 2483 global CIOs and IT leaders in 20 countries across Europe, Asia, North America and Africa. The combined IT spend of the respondents is $140 billion. The survey, now 10 years old, was sponsored by Telecity Group.

CEOs demand CIO prepare for growth and mobility

Women CIOs massively under represented