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Moving from the back office to the front lines


In the first installment of our recent Global C-suite Study, we spoke in person with 4,183 top executives covering more than 20 industries to find out how CxOs are earning the loyalty of digitally enfranchised customers and citizens.  In this report we delve more deeply into what the 1,656 CIOs we interviewed are doing to help their enterprises become more “customer-activated.”

One thing is immediately obvious: just how far some CIOs have come in the past five years. In 2009, we reported that CIOs were rising up the management hierarchy and developing a new, more powerful voice. But they often had to juggle different roles to deal with conflicting goals.

In 2011, we identified that CIOs were starting to think more like CEOs. They were becoming essential members of the C-suite, although there were marked disparities in the mandates they held — i.e., what the enterprises they worked for expected of the IT function. Most CIOs were helping to expand or transform their organizations. The rest were tasked with leveraging IT to make their organizations more effective, or pioneering radical innovation in the form of new products, markets and business models.

But during the past few years, there’s been a shift to each end of the spectrum. The number of CIOs with a mandate to provide basic IT services has increased, as has the number with a mandate to pioneer and engineer innovation (see Figure 1).

In short, while some CIOs remain confined to their traditional domains, a growing number are seizing the opportunity to take on a far bigger role on the front lines of the business. “There have been significant changes over the past six or seven years. One big change is accessibility. IT didn’t always have an equal seat at the table. Now, my peers are far more tech-savvy,” Nick Smither, CIO of Ford Motor Company, told us.



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Content provided by IBM Institute for Business Value
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