More than 40% of line-of-business (LOB) executives view the CIO as an “innovation officer,” according to a new survey by International Data Corp. (IDC).

According to the study, “The Changing Role of IT Leadership: CIO Perspectives for 2016,” the way in which CIOs view themselves has a direct impact on how they view the job in which they function and their relationship with business executives.

Of the 150 CIO survey respondents, 41% viewed themselves as operational, 34% as service managers, and 25% as innovation officers. Conversely, 41% of LOB respondents view their CIO as an innovation officer, with only 28% viewing the CIO as operational.

This indicates the challenge that CIOs face in evolving their role, where having to meet operational requirements is holding some back from meeting the new expectations of their business counterparts, the study says.

"CIOs who stay operational will find themselves further marginalized over the next three years,” Mike Jennett, vice president of research for enterprise mobility in IDC's IT Executive Program. said in a statement. “For these executives to stay relevant, they must shift their focus to transformation and innovation and incorporating those innovations into their stable infrastructures. 'Just keeping the lights on' will lead the business to find other sources for technology leadership and innovation."

While many CIOs have embraced change, “there is still a large percentage that will benefit from evaluating their organizations as well as their relationship with their business counterparts as they continue on this journey," Jennett said.

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