CIOs will gain the strategic influence they desire if they innovate and achieve efficiency on tightened budgets says Bryan MacDonald, director of the CIO practice at recruitment specialists Harvey Nash. MacDonald said the company’s 10th annual CIO survey revealed CIOs are focussing on collaborative innovation.

Respondents to the survey said the board was looking for technology to enhance operational efficiency, 76 per cent said this was the most important issue for them as CIOs and for the business. Efficiency from improved internal processes was seen as the primary innovation by 65 per cent of the survey group. Harvey Nash describes innovation as the: “key to maintaining competitive advantage through the current economic downturn”.

Delivering a competitive advantage through innovation is seen by 83 per cent of CIOs as the demand being placed on them by the organisation. The survey also revealed that collaboration projects produced the highest return on investment.

Innovations produced good returns to organisations according to the survey group, with 55 per cent saying they saw a return of five per cent or more. Up to eight per cent of the budget is invested in innovation by 75 per cent of CIOs. Thirty three per cent of CIOs are investing over eight per cent of their budget on development and as a result are seeing higher returns; reporting over 10 per cent on average.

London based Harvey Nash conducted the survey with PA Consulting between February and March 2008; 360 CIOs and senior technology business leaders were polled.

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