Inside the CIO’s Mind

The role of the CIO has undergone many dramatic changes in recent years. Today’s CIO may be considered a business co-creator, trusted operator or an instigator of change. Whatever group a CIO falls into, he or she is creating a legacy of developing people, technologies, and processes for the future.


The 2015 survey of more than 1,200 CIOs by Deloitte revealed some important insights on how CIOs are creating value as well as how they operate within their organization’s leadership ecosystem. The survey considered the importance of four elements in framing the picture.

Inside the CIOs Mind - AhaApps

Business Priorities


Where once many companies considered an IT department as little more than a necessary expense, more and more CIOs are now expected to actively contribute to the company’s bottom line. IT has become integrated into all aspects of the company’s business and the lines marking the division of responsibilities are blurring at the C-suite level. Deloitte’s survey revealed that CIOs were almost unanimous in naming performance, customers, cost, innovation and growth as the top five business priorities. Only those in the public sector placed cybersecurity as a higher priority than growth.


Although there was consistency in identifying priorities, certain industries placed greater emphasis on individual aspects. For example:


  • hghCIOs in the travel, media and hospitality industry placed much more emphasis on customers than those in the public sector — 71 percent vs. 20 percent.
  • CIOs for B2C businesses and retailers rated performance higher than those in the financial-services industry — 58 percent vs. 32 percent.Innovation mattered most for those in the technology and telecommunications industry (58 percent) and least to those in the energy industry (32 percent).
Inside the CIO's Mind - AhaApps

Leadership and Talent

The strengths and competencies of the CIO can have a significant impact on the perceived value of the IT team. They are expected to be multifaceted, capable of ensuring efficient day-to-day operations, while simultaneously contributing to overall company strategy and functioning as a leader during change. Interestingly, when asked to consider the skills needed to be successful, only 9 percent of the respondents stated that they possessed all the skills. The six most important characteristics identified were:


  1. The ability to influence other C-level executives and business leaders.
  2. Interpersonal and communication skills
  3. An understanding of the company’s strategic priorities
  4. Motivating, attracting and retaining talent
  5. Technology vision and leadership
  6. Ability to lead in complex, rapidly changing environments



A leader’s impact and credibility often hinges on relationships. Strong partnerships with other C-level executives, external partners, employees and business peers can enable a CIO to wield more influence as a business leader. However, not all have a place in the boardroom – or feel comfortable in that environment. Thus, although influence over internal stakeholders was named as one six top competencies for an ideal CIO, it was a trait that most of the respondents felt they lacked.


Strong relationships at the C-level do not automatically guarantee success. And, only one-third of the respondents said they had a strong relationship with marketing and sales executives. Since these are the people who often initiate or implement development of the organization’s business strategy, this could be problematic for CIOs. Building strong relationships requires frequent quality interactions. Respondents pointed out that interactions are critical, but noted that if CIOs do not add value during interactions, their time can end up curtailed.

Technology Investments

For better or worse, technology investments typically represent the CIO’s perceived value. However, despite increasing demands on CIOs to innovate and assist in the growth of the overall company, approximately 67 percent of technology budgets go to supporting routine business operations and only 16 percent goes to business growth and innovation. Other important findings include:


  1. Although more than 75 percent of the CIOs expected analytics and digital to significantly impact their business during the next 24 months, many stated that leveraging these technologies would require revamping core infrastructure and/or legacy systems — and that it was difficult to secure funding for the overhaul.
  2. Almost two-thirds of the respondents stated that the Cloud would have a significant impact on their operations within two years. This view was especially strongly expressed by those in the travel, media and hospitality, telecom and tech, B2C and retail industries.
  3. Cybersecurity was expected to have a significant impact with 58 percent of the respondents, especially those in government, energy and financial-services industries.

For More Information

If you need help meeting the challenges faced by today’s CIO, contact AhaApps. Our mission is to evoke the “Aha moment” for every client — that moment of revelation when outside-the-box thinking meets a realistic solution. Whatever challenges you face, AhaApps works closely toward the success of CIOs.

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