The CIO’s agenda resembles that of the CEO more and more. This is not surprising, since both officials have the same priority top five, according to IBM think tank leader Peter Korsten. He bases his comment on a study among 5,247 business leaders and managers from all across the globe. “Technology is the number one by a wide margin, followed by the ability of responding to market developments and matters concerning legislation and regulations.”
Macroeconomic developments and employee skills still come in for a high score, Korsten says, but these are focused on to a lesser extent than several years ago. The CIO’s and CEO’s future agendas fully reflect the character of an age in which the role of technology steadily increases, the Global Leader Thought Leadership & Eminence of the IBM Institute for Business Value says. “For the first time since we have been conducting this longitudinal study among C-level managers, technology has the highest priority, on average. This is a breakthrough, which also underlines the CIO’s importance.”
At CIODAY2016, in the Amsterdam Beurs van Berlage on 29 November, Peter Korsten will present the study results at an interactive, plenary session with several Dutch top managers. At the event, the former Boston Consulting Group and PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant will zoom in with honorary chairman Joost Hoebink on the interaction between CIO and CEO. The results of the IBM C-Suite study, which has been running since 2003, indicate that this interaction is becoming more important and intensive.
“A breakthrough, which also underlines the CIO’s importance”
Many themes yet unaddressed occupy the CIO’s mind, though. Security risks, for instance, are the biggest challenge for 76 per cent of respondents responsible for IT. Other risk factors, such as data leaks and non-compliance with legislation and regulations, lag behind considerably. “With respect to promising technologies, CIOs are particularly interested in mobile, cloud, the Internet of Things, cognitive applications and advanced manufacturing.”
The IBM Institute for Business Value looked more deeply into what Peter Korsten calls the ‘next wave of investments’: the technologies that will be invested in most in the next three to five years. In this context, as much as 44 per cent of CIOs mentioned advanced analytics and cognitive computing, followed by cloud computing (40 per cent) and security & risk (36 per cent).
Quite interestingly, the study brought to light a category of innovating companies that performed significantly better than their competitors: the so-called torch-bearers. It was found that the top five of CEOs world-wide, people at the helm of such companies, have their primary focus on mobile and cognitive computing. “To a much greater extent than the followers do,” says Korsten. “Advanced analytics, especially focused on understanding the customers better, is top of the list of the CIOs of these torch-bearers. This focus clearly yields a competitive advantage. It is also interesting that the CIOs of torch-bearers are substantially better in realising partnerships.”
In addition to responding well to customer needs, in collaboration with the right partner, speed is also important. “It is a matter of ‘be first, be best or be nowhere’,” the IBM researcher says. “It’s not always about being first, but what you provide has to be the best for the customer. Look at the market for smart watches. Apple was maybe not the first, but they were the best. This is what made them the market leader.” As evidenced by the study, the CEO has set his sights on the customer too. No less than 82 per cent of top senior level managers expect more digital interaction with the end-customer, up from 60 per cent in 2014.
Any other new, interesting insights? Korsten: “More than enough, but I will save them for my presentation at CIODAY2016.”