October 6, 2010 – Diamond Management & Technology Consultants' Third Annual Digital IQ Study found that 74 percent of financial services CEOs and senior-most business leaders are active champions of technology and many of these firms rally around innovation strategies.

But only 24 percent of the CIOs at these firms are primarily responsible for technologies that actually touch customers, the survey found.

"Technology can be the engine behind increased profits, loyalty-building customer experiences, and the ability to navigate today's dynamic regulatory environment," said Jeff Hesse, managing partner of Diamond's Financial Services practice. "The CEO who isn't leveraging and demanding more market-facing innovations from the CIO, and the CIO who isn't engaging in and driving these strategies with business leaders, are both missing the mark. At risk is not only better overall company performance, but also the possibility of losing the 'C' in their titles."

Diamond polled 724 senior business and IT executives, 160 of them from financial services firms.

Diamond said its survey seems to indicate the CIO's role has been weakening precisely at a time it should be growing stronger, given the advent of new technologies.

"Financial Services executives we surveyed put 'leadership abilities' and 'innovative thinking' at the top of their IT executive wish lists – much higher than 'deep experience in running IT operations,'" said Chris Curran, Diamond's chief technology officer and co-author of the study. "The business clearly wants the CIO to drive growth as well as lead the IT function, but it appears the vast majority of these CIOs focus mainly on improving the IT organization and business processes."

This originally appeared on Securities Technology Monitor.

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