CIOs: More Vital Than Ever to the Business, According to Research

Independent Study, commissioned by salesforce.com, Finds Economic Climate Drives Innovation and Cost Reduction In IT Departments

Salesforce.com, the enterprise cloud computing (http:// www.salesforce.com/cloudcomputing/) company, has found that UK CIOs have become more valued by their companies after helping them to innovate through 2009. However, while their stock is rising in the boardroom, the vast majority of CIOs are still yet to get a seat at the top table, according to independent research.

A poll of UK CIOs, commissioned by salesforce.com and conducted by global research company Coleman Parkes, found innovation has become a far greater part of the CIO’s role during the past 12 months, compared to the findings of the same survey conducted a year ago. Meanwhile, less time is spent on IT maintenance and ‘keeping the lights on’.

Nearly half of CIOs - 44 per cent – said delivering innovation was now a key part of their job, nearly double the 2008 figure of 24 per cent.

The changing nature of their role is also illustrated by a big fall in the amount of time they spent over the past year on maintaining systems or tackling problems from 62 per cent to 30 per cent. Last year, CIOs on average spent 47 per cent of their time on troubleshooting and 15 per cent on patching systems or software. This year, the time devoted to these tasks has fallen to 22 per cent and eight per cent respectively.

Andy Jacques, area vice president Northern Europe, salesforce.com said: “CIOs work hard to deliver value and go beyond keeping the lights on. A lot of businesses are now adopting technologies like cloud computing to help them overcome IT headaches and maintenance problems. As a result, increased efficiency, flexibility and cost-savings are freeing up CIOs so they have more time and energy to innovate.”

Dominic Shine, Group CIO of Reed Exhibitions added: "There has never been a more challenging and exciting time to be a CIO. I have the dual challenge of driving a major transformation of business process and platforms across a global organisation in line with my CEO's expectations, whilst helping my board colleagues realise benefits that are even more crucial in the current economic context.” “Cloud computing solutions are absolutely central to this challenge and are providing me with a faster, more flexible way of delivering the innovation that is needed to ensure my business is successful in the future, and significantly reducing the hassle associated with on-premise solutions. I don't get any credit for delivery of IT infrastructure or operations - people just assume that that stuff should work. My business expects me to drive innovation to help them to deliver solutions to our customers faster, with higher quality and lower cost."

IT is seen as more valuable by the board, with an overwhelming 92 per cent of respondents saying it carries greater sway now than it did 12 months ago.

However, this growing importance is not being reflected in the executive status of most CIOs. Just 14 per cent currently sit on the board, and only half report into a board member. A mere 13 per cent report into the CEO, while nearly a quarter (24 per cent) report to the CFO and four per cent to the COO. On a more positive note, 96 per cent of CIOs said they still get enough support from their CEO. This figure is up from 81 per cent a year ago.

CIOs have clearly had to raise their levels of innovation to counter a greater emphasis on cost-cutting during the current testing climate. Two thirds (66 per cent) said economic environment had forced budgets to be scaled back, compared with 41 per cent in 2008.

“Cloud computing has proven a lifeline for businesses looking to reduce their overall spend on IT while not sacrificing functionality,” added Jacques. “In times like these, being able to manage applications and business processes for less cost - and with less time spent on maintenance and upkeep - is critical.”

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