Nearly two thirds of UK CIOs have reported they do not have clear or realistic business objectives.

That’s according to a survey by IT services company, Atos Origin, who also found the majority (76%) of those surveyed do not consider themselves a strategic influencer within the business.

The survey of UK CIOs and senior IT decision-makers, conducted in April by researcher Vanson Bourne across 125 organisations, indicated that while some CIOs have made progress by increasing their influence within the business, many still struggle to balance the role of managing the IT infrastructure with the demands of business strategy.

Over half (56%) described themselves as a ‘manager of IT and of outsourced IT suppliers’ – more than double those that consider themselves a ‘strategic influencer within the business’ (26%).

When asked what the barriers to their success were, UK CIOs said the most pressing issues they faced were unrealistic or unclear business objectives (61%); managing legacy systems (48%) and a lack budget (48%); and a lack of business involvement and interest (42%). IT staff skills shortages (25%) rounded out the top five concerns.

When asked what would help them do their job more effectively, 59% of CIOs highlighted the need for an ‘increased interest and involvement of the business in IT strategy and planning’; 54% required more IT budget; and 41% a ‘better understanding of business drivers’ (41%).

John Stevenson, chief operating officer, Atos Origin said many CIOs find their time is preoccupied with managing multiple IT suppliers and relationships, without the appropriate internal infrastructure and governance. This leaves them little time to focus on developing their role within the business.

“This often impacts the ability of the IT department to provide innovative solutions that enable the company to be more agile and, ultimately, increase their business advantage,” said Stevenson.

According to the survey, 92% of CIOs surveyed encourage innovation, but only 13% formally measure the return on investment it provides.

And despite spending large amounts of time managing external suppliers, only 38% of CIOs surveyed involve their external IT suppliers in innovation, compared to 49% who involve external IT suppliers in IT governance.