The vast majority of business leaders' goals can only be achieved through the use of technology. In this environment, the functional boundaries between IT and other parts of the business are blurring and groups such as Sales, R&D, HR and Marketing are allocating a growing slice of their budgets to technology and experimenting with new technology capabilities to meet their objectives.
But the blurring of responsibilities works both ways and CIO are taking on more responsibilities outside the traditional parameters of IT. Data from our latest IT Budget Benchmark found that nearly 60% of CIOs now own at least one non-IT functional area, up from 44% in 2014. This is not an indication that the CIO's role has got any easier, or that it requires much less time than it did in previous years. In fact, we are seeing an increase in the number of organisations appoint IT chiefs of staff, a senior-level role designed to take on some of the work relinquished by the increasingly busy CIO.
The three most common additional responsibilities
As more CIOs venture beyond the boundaries of IT, below are the three most common additions to their responsibilities, ranked from high to low:
1. Business analytics - The share of CIOs owning business analytics has doubled from 15% to 30% in just one year. This number is only set to increase, as our data shows that information-intensive capabilities now consume 33% of the IT project budget, including analytics, customer experience, and collaboration.
2. Corporate procurement - There has been a steady rise in the percentage of CIOs that take responsibility for procurement and vendor management. The fact is that IT has always done a lot of sourcing so CIOs generally find themselves well equipped to broaden their responsibilities here. They can help the CFO or CMO choose the right vendor for their project, as well as making sourcing practices across the business more flexible and better suited to new and emerging vendor models. One former CIO 100 member from the public sector, Sander Kristel, has recently moved roles to become the newly-created Director of Commercial and Change at Worcestershire County Council.
3. Multi-functional shared services - Our research shows a growing interest from senior leaders around the world in transitioning to an "integrated business services" model in which the activities of corporate functions such as IT, HR, Finance, and facilities are packaged together to support specific business outcomes. CIOs have an opportunity to lead this transition and broker consensus across the executive suite. In addition to their experience in making service models work in IT, the CIO's cross-silo overview provides a useful vantage point to identify the right business departments to work with and the right services to integrate.
There are two things going on here. First, in areas such as business analytics and shared services, the use of technology has become difficult to separate from other business activities, so hybrid and integrated groups are emerging and the CIO is a natural candidate to take the lead.
Second, in the course of leading IT, CIOs have emerged as highly capable senior leaders with important experience in operations, strategy, talent development, project management, change management, and vendor management. It's clear that CEOs recognise these strengths and want to exploit them by giving CIOs responsibility for other areas of the business.
By Andrew Horne and Prashast Gupta