For years, CIOs have worked to become true partners to their business lines and important strategic contributors to the C-suite, but a number of factors have kept the majority of them from making a true breakthrough at the highest level of their organizations. In fact, fewer than one in five of the 300+ CIOs surveyed for Ernst & Young’s recent report, “The DNA of the CIO: Opening the Door to the C-Suite, ” say they have a seat at the top table.

Each organization is different, and management structures also tend to vary across industries, but there are some common themes that emerge from the study. One is that senior management tends to perceive the IT group as a support function or as a manager of outsourced services. CIOs also too often fail to discuss IT issues in terms of the value they add to the business. Finally, some simply lack the political or business acumen necessary to succeed in the C-suite. Nonetheless, most CIOs still say they aim to become innovative leaders of the business. But how they can achieve that transformation?

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