June 16, 2011 – Emphasis is building on the innovative aspects of CIO roles and how they can improve the business to become more competitive, says new survey results from PA Consulting Group and Harvey Nash. 

Where for the past two to three years focus has been on cost reduction through the economic downturn, CIOs more often need to consider the right balance between the utility and innovation components of IT.

According to the research, 50 percent of CIOs now sit on the operational board or management team in their organizations.

“The most successful CIOs are those that while making sure they keep the lights on and business running … also have close interaction and dialogue with business leaders they support,“ says Chris Steel head of PA Consulting’s IT practice in the U.S. “People are focusing on a client-partner approach. Think of the IT function as more of a broker between the business and the market.”

The main demands on CIOs remain cost saving (67 percent), increasing operational efficiencies (65 percent) and delivering consistent and stable IT performance to the business (64 percent), according to survey results comprised of picking multiple categories.

“Having balance within the organization and flexibility to respond to changes is very important,” says Steel. “That goes for the talent you hire, whether they come into the organization new, or by bringing IT managers in from business lines.”

“An IT manager might want to ask themselves, ‘What am I passionate about? How does that align with what the business wants me to do?’” says Steel. “Infrastructure may not be what the business wants them to do – as they develop their careers, they should look into what the business wants.”

The survey was conducted online by PA Consulting Group and Harvey Nash between November 18, 2010 and April 4, 2011 among 2,575 senior level IT professionals from businesses across the world.