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IBM study: CIOs’ influence is growing as technology becomes core to surveyed enterprises

November 9, 2021   Maryam Farag

Photo: IBM.

A new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study revealed CIOs’ influence on business strategy and operations is growing as technology pervades surveyed enterprises.

When asked which other C-Suite members will be most critical over the next few years, CEOs surveyed named their tech chiefs (CIOs and CTOs) at more than twice the rate of CMOs, CHROs or any other position excluding CFO and COOs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for AI and hybrid cloud applications to power business critical processes,” said Kathryn Guarini, Chief Information Officer, IBM. “In our post-pandemic era, the role of technology has never been more critical and it’s up to CIOs to influence strategy, break down internal silos, and drive agility and innovation across every part of the business.”

Many surveyed CIOs emphasized the importance of data and automation to break down siloes and create new value streams. The number of CIOs surveyed reporting high maturity in AI-enabled workflows increased 560 per cent compared to two years ago, and 37 per cent of CIOs surveyed cite process automation as the top opportunity for positive impact within their organizations. Respondents indicated the greatest use of automation is in IT, finance, and manufacturing – at 40, 35, and 35 per cent of workloads.

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The number of CIOs surveyed reporting high maturity in their hybrid cloud operations increased 700 per cent compared to 2019. The IBV’s recent study on cloud transformation provides further insight on how hybrid cloud is becoming the dominant IT architecture.

Many CIOs are looking to use technology to drive progress against corporate objectives like sustainability. 42 per cent of CIOs surveyed expect technology to have a significant impact on sustainability in the next three years – highest of all areas of impact.

83 per cent of CIOs surveyed say they implemented remote work strategies, but only 23 per cent expect remote workplace changes from the COVID-19 pandemic to become permanent.

In contrast, nearly two in three (65 per cent) employees surveyed report they’d prefer to work exclusively remotely or in a hybrid model, if given the choice.