Irish CIO’s innovation ambition not supported by budgets

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9 December 2015 | 0

More than half (52%) of Irish chief information officers say that innovation is a top business priority, but only 22% of IT budgets are allocated to innovation and growth.

These figures come the annual Deloitte global survey of CIOs, and while the Irish figure for innovation and growth is marginally higher than the global figure, it still is dwarfed by the more than three quarters (78%) of IT budgets that is required for day-to-day operations and incremental change. More worryingly, the survey reports that only 15% of global tech leaders are investing in emerging technologies that would contribute to innovation and growth.

When asked which technologies will have a significant impact on the business within the next two years, Irish CIOs specified analytics (78%), cloud (75%) and digital (63%). At a global level, while CIOs also predicted analytics would have the greatest impact, digital was ranked ahead of cloud technologies.

CIO opportunity
“CIOs have a huge opportunity to drive innovation and growth in today’s increasingly global and connected business environment,” said Simon Murphy, technology partner, and global CIO Survey leader, Deloitte Consulting. “The challenge lies in the CIO becoming a respected business leader, with a role in advancing both the growth and innovation agenda as well as supporting operational excellence. CIOs are now striving to strike a balance between these, while improving their C-suite relationships and leadership skills, in order to drive funding for these impactful technologies.”

As their top three business priorities, Irish CIOs cited customers (58%), innovation (52%) and growth (48%), which was in contrast to their global CIO counterparts who cited performance and cost as their top two priorities, while customers came in third place with less than half (45%) of global CIOs identifying it as a priority.

“This variance in business priorities amongst Irish CIOs,” said Murphy, “is possibly a reflection of our recovering economy, versus the rest of the world. It may also account for a slightly higher budget allocation for innovation initiatives. For many organisations and CIOs, the recession was a period of significant cost focus and underinvestment in technology. Today’s higher growth economy on the other hand requires significantly different technology capabilities in the areas of digital, analytics and core systems to maximise the opportunity. Positively, Irish CIO priorities appear to reflect this shift in emphasis.”

Requisite skills
Somewhat curiously, the survey having found that most (91%) of CIOs do not believe they have all of the requisite skills to be a successful technology leader. In fact, the survey found that CIOs surveyed vary significantly in how they deliver value to their organisations and are naturally clustered across three patterns.

Firstly, the ‘Trusted Operators’, who represent half of Irish CIOs, deliver operational discipline within their organisations by focusing on cost, operational efficiency and performance reliability. They also provide enabling technologies that support business transformation efforts and align to business strategy.

Secondly, ‘Change Instigators’, who represent just 12% of Irish CIOs, lead technology-enabled business transformation and other change initiatives. They allocate a portion of time to supporting business strategy and delivering enabling technologies.

Finally, ‘Business Co-Creators’, who represent some 38% of Irish CIOs, spend most of their time on business strategy and driving change within their organisations to ensure effective execution of the strategy.

“It is interesting that half of Irish CIOs identified themselves as trusted operators,” said Murphy, “and that there is a higher proportion here than across global respondents. A focus on operations and execution is always required and was entirely appropriate in recent years. However, in a growing economy with significant new demands from the business for new technology capabilities, CIOs should consider if the time is right to flex their style more towards instigating and driving change in their organisation.”

“We identified two patterns of CIOs who do this – Change Instigators and Business Co-Creators. CIOs adopting these pattern focus more of their time on leading technology-enabled business transformation and working with the business to drive the business strategy while building a strong team to focus on execution and operational excellence.”

Shaping future business
Murphy said that in order to truly shape the future of the business, CIOs should assess their current competencies and business needs to chart out an unambiguous vision of the future, as a result of which they can be in a stronger position to identify the skills, relationships and technology investments needed.

“The C-suite is now, more than ever, looking at the CIO as a leader who is prepared to drive business priorities through both scalable technology solutions and smart investments. It is a positive and exciting time for Irish CIOs, with a real opportunity to drive strategic transformation as they seek to support their organisations in a growth phase,” he concluded.

 

 

TechCentral Reporters

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