Arlington, MA October 31, 2002 According to a recent survey by Cutter Consortium there has been a consistent shift in reporting relationships, and chief information officers (CIOs) are joining senior management teams, with 70 percent directly reporting to their CEOs.
Cutter concluded that the data suggests technology's influence is growing, as is the recognition on the part of CEOs that their CIOs and chief technology officers (CTOs) are necessary for business success.
"It's no secret that CIOs are often sacrificed at the altar of reliability and cost-effectiveness, along with other complaints from the business," said Steve Andriole, the Cutter Consortium senior consultant who analyzed the data. "One of the constraints that CIOs have wrestled with, however, is the reporting relationship. It's difficult to influence major events inside a company if you don't report to the CEO."
Andriole added that CIOs are trending away from reporting to the chief financial officer, who is traditionally the operational watchdog of the corporation. CEOs, on the other hand, tend to be more strategy focused.
Also, only 37 percent of the participants in the study reported that they actually have a CTO at their company. Explains Andriole, "The decision to bring on a CTO has a lot to do with size. But often it's more about the working relationship between the CIO and CEO. Some companies use a CTO because their CIOs are really 'chief infrastructure officers' not chief information officers. In those cases, a CTO is often brought in to develop a longer-term technology strategy one that the CIO just doesn't have the time to develop.
He said the survey indicated that most CTOs (74 percent) do not report to CIOs and that they are, in effect, free agents, reporting to another senior executive. In those instances where both the CIO and CTO report to the CEO, there's bound to be friction, since both senior professionals are likely to have strong views about business-technology issues.
"The only exception to this would be if the CTO's job was to focus on technology issues that the company might face in three to five years rather than attend to day-to-day business-technology decision making or problem solving," Andriole stated.