Only three per cent of chief information officers in large businesses sit on their management boards, but they are still expected to formulate innovative business strategies.

This is the worrying finding of a new survey, in which nearly nine in ten CIOs said innovation was key part of their role, but a lack of money and a prevalence of negative attitudes towards IT staff are blocking the way.

Time is also a heavy pressure, with CIOs saying most of their hours are spent “keeping the lights on” instead of coming up with ideas and plans. They spend 51 per cent of their time solving IT issues, 13 per cent of time patching software, and 17 per cent of time administering systems. This leaves under a fifth of their time for planning.

Disillusionment is also a major problem among CIOs, according to the survey. Two thirds of large-business CIOs say they gain satisfaction from driving innovation, but an alarming one third of firms do not see IT as a deliverer of innovation, they said. Six in 10 CIOs have a “medium” or “low” satisfaction in their current roles.

Ed Hefferman, chief information officer at component manufacturer E2V Technologies, said: “CIOs can't possibly innovate if all their time is spent keeping the lights on. I also believe that being on the board can offer a huge boon to innovation."

There are also concerns over the future of IT departments. Fifty seven per cent said the IT department will be smaller in five years.

Staff demand for mobile working is driving large changes for the CIO, according to the report. Nine in ten said they faced greater challenges than they had before in delivering applications to staff on the move. Some 60 per cent said that managing staff operating outside the office was a challenge.

CIOs expressed some reluctance to let staff work remotely. And 40 per cent said remote working staff would face difficulties carrying out their work, and 34 per cent said the staff simply could not work as well outside the office.

But they were more prepared for the changes brought by software as a service. Some 61 per cent of applications will be delivered via the internet in five years, they said.

One hundred CIOs were interviewed for the survey, conducted by Coleman Parkes on behalf of SaaS supplier Salesforce.com.

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