Three-speed CIOs

Every year, the analyst group Gartner carries out a survey of around 1,000 enterprise CIOs around the world. The most striking conclusion from this year’s effort is that, despite the unmistakeably more positive mood, prudence remains the key.

“CIOs have been through the wringer in recent years, and our 2004 survey reflects their continuing caution,” says Marcus Blosch, a Gartner vice president. CIOs, he says, are still having to keep costs in check.

The survey also finds that CIOs have become split into three distinct groups. The most common of these, says Gartner, is the ‘maintaining competitiveness’ group (69% of respondents). Members of this CIO grouping have balanced efficiency, integrity and effectiveness, and have built a healthy relationship with business managers, although they are seeing only a “slight” increase in budgets.

The next group, those that are ‘breaking away’, consists of 16% of CIOs. Trusted by senior management and regarded as business leaders, ‘breakaway’ CIOs are enjoying significantly increased budgets and have become focused on building growth and creating a more ‘agile’ enterprise. Gartner says it is this group that will eventually prove the “blue print to which other CIOs can aspire”.

But the final group, consisting of 15% of CIOs, is a long way short of meeting such aspirations. Gartner says this group is “fighting for survival”, locked in a “vicious circle” of rising expectations and falling budgets. Few report to CEOs and, anyway, precious few senior managers seem to notice them. Blosch has the following advice: “Spend more time with business managers in 2004, and focus on business rather than technology issues.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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