Monday, June 24, 2024

A New Breed of CIO is Moving In

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A new wave of CIOs are moving into tech departments all over the

country… and they haven’t worked their way up from the ranks of IT


That’s right. They’re the suits.

A new study, commissioned by the Harvey Nash Group plc, a global

recruitment firm, and sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, shows that

there’s a new breed of CIO in town.

”It’s funny because there’s been some talk about this happening for the

last three or four years,” says Phil Bloodworth, a partner in Advisory

Services at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. ”Now we’re finding that it’s being

put into practice. It’s actually happening. Companies put someone over

technology who isn’t necessarily a technologist. They’re more of a

strategist or a business person.

”That person is expected to bring a sense of business rigor and a

broader business focus than just a narrow technology focus,” he adds.

”It’s all about running IT like a business. It’s no longer about bits

and bytes and nuts and bolts. They have to align to the broader


Increasingly, Bloodworth adds, CIOs describe themselves as business

people first and technologists second.

But how is this going over with the other workers in the IT department?

Are tech professionals going to respond well to a ‘business suit’ coming

in and running the show? Deciding where their budget money will go? What

projects need to be at the head of the list?

Perhaps surprisingly enough, Bloodworth says, by and large, it isn’t an


”It’s going over pretty well,” he says. ”Let me tell you why. If you

get an IT organization that’s not viewed as just driving the bus, but

it’s viewed as someone who’s tactical and strategic, then technology is

elevated. IT is becoming elevated. There will be the crusties who don’t

like that. But the enlightened IT professional, who wants a broader

perspective, will like this move. It’s elevating their status in the

company and it’s allowing them to help the company achieve its strategic


The study also shows that IT budgets are looking up for 2006. The budgets

are growing as pent-up demand is released, with 25 percent of
survey respondents seeing an increase between 10 percent and 20 percent,

and 13 percent are seeing an increase over 20 percent.

Here are some other notes from the survey:

  • Security concerns rank high for U.S. CIOs compared to their U.K.


  • Outsourcing of IT services is a hot topic for U.S. CIOs, with almost

    all respondents saying they have used outsourcing, and 38 percent of

    respondents projecting growth in outsourcing budgets;

  • Not surprisingly, reducing costs was the primary reason for

    companies choosing to outsource, and

  • About 10 percent of respondents said they offshore, or contract with
    resources outside the U.S.

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