CIO Influence Waning as CFOs Gain More Control Over IT Decisions

CIO Influence Waning as CFOs Gain More Control Over IT Decisions

Over the past few years, CIOs have lost some influence and CFOs have gained more influence regarding IT purchases. It's up to solution providers to expand their C-level relationships to stay in the game.

CIOs are under a lot of pressure these days. Well, to be perfectly honest, they’ve been under tremendous pressure for the past decade to keep their organizations on the cutting edge of technology and their information and systems secure, all while looking for ways to increase efficiency. They’ve seen their overall IT budgets remain stagnant but have needed to invest more in virtualization, mobile applications and integration, cloud computing and, of course, IT security.

It’s been a catch-22 and that's not likely to change in the near future. CIOs have had to constantly prioritize their IT spending, delay much-needed infrastructure upgrades and rely more on outsourcing partners. The tough economic times have also seen the CIO lose a little bit of influence and the CFO gain more regarding IT purchases—and solution providers know it, as they have seen more CFOs in IT strategic meetings.

In fact, recent research shows that more than 20 percent of CIOs believe that their direct control over technology has decreased since the beginning of the recession, according to the Harvey Nash/TelecityGroup 2013 CIO Survey of more than 2,000 CIOs. Meanwhile, the proportion of IT departments in which 10 percent or more of IT spend is controlled outside the IT department has increased more than 40 percent during the same time.

Not surprising, CIOs do see their value growing as technology continues to be a more important business driver, but understand that more business heads inside an organization are involved in the decision-making process. Additionally, more CIOs than ever before are reporting directly the CEO, according to the survey.

"As technology has become pervasive and central to business, the CIO is increasingly no longer the only executive around the board room table responsible for the procuring and management of technology. The CIO of the future will be increasingly required to influence the business rather than merely controlling systems and hardware,” said Albert Ellis, CEO of Harvey Nash Group plc, in a prepared statement.

Smart solution providers saw this trend coming and have been taking steps to form relationships with other business leaders, most notably the CFO. In fact, some solution providers have said no big technology decisions are currently being made without CFO buy-in. As a result, they’ve had to change their elevator pitch to address the overall business benefits, competitive advantages and ROI of any deployment.

Other key findings of the Harvey/Nash/Telecity survey include:

  • Marketing, sales and specialist digital teams are increasingly becoming technology owners: One third, or 33 percent, of digital projects are owned and run by marketing alone and another 42 percent are jointly run by IT and marketing;
  • Growth is continuing in Bring Your Own Device with 46 percent expecting the proportion of their IT estate to be owned and managed directly by users to grow over the next year; and
  • There is a continuing trend of using external providers rather than internal teams with 43 percent expecting to increase spend on outsourcing. This is almost three times as many as those expecting a decline in spend.

The end result for solution providers: Get to know all the decision makers inside your customer organizations and adjust your communications accordingly.

Knock 'em alive!

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