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CIOs need to embrace change to drive business innovation

building blocks for the CIO of tomorrow

The findings of the Deloitte CIO Survey for 2013, a global survey that gathered responses from more than 700 CIOs and senior IT leaders across 36 countries, suggest that while the worst of the IT budget cuts are behind us the business environment is still extremely challenging for CIOs.

This is characterised by increasing business expectations, rapid increases in the pace of business and technological change, shrinking technology adoption lifecycles, and a shortage of available talent. The role of the CIO as a trusted partner to the business, in what for many parts of the world remain difficult economic times, has never been more important or challenging.

While the Survey showed consistent experiences across global regions and industries, some variations have come to the fore.

“There are definitely some broad-sweeping challenges that CIOs in Africa are exposed to that their international colleagues are not. These would include things such as the cost and availability of connectivity, infrastructure investment costs, and access to skilled resources who are able to deliver business as well as technical insight,” says Kamal Ramsingh, Technology Leader for Africa at professional services firm Deloitte.

Despite this, business investment in IT is on the rise as nearly 80% of IT budgets have increased or stayed the same this year. The additional resource is focused on delivering against new business requirements, including new or revised business models and transformational plans, such as digital.

“The CIO is becoming more of a post-digital catalyst and this is a trend which we are seeing across South Africa. CIOs are having to embrace and adapt to fast-changing business needs which are being largely driven by the consumerisation and democratisation of IT,” says Ramsingh.

He believes that this means that while CIOs may not be seen as the primary business innovators, they can choose to be at the forefront of supporting and enabling business innovation.

“This is definitely in line with the international trend. The only difference is that the readiness to adopt these new trends may not be as highly developed.”

At a time when business transformation is a top priority for organisations, it is positive that the majority (75%) of CIOs understand how IT functions could support the innovation strategies of their organisations. This increased focus on digital and new business requirements places a greater demand on the IT department to be a centre of innovation. However, challenges remain as only 35% of respondents believe their IT function is considered a credible hub of innovation by the business.

“From a South African point of view, CIOs are going to be driven by a need to better deliver customer information back into the business. That means embracing the ideas of Big Data, social business, and customer analytics whilst still being able to deliver top tier ‘business as usual’ IT services,” adds Ramsingh.

In short, he feels that CIOs could well be driving the digital strategy through the support of new business needs in addition to the consolidation and maintenance of current IT Infrastructure.

Click here to download the full CIO Survey Report

To find out more about he Deloitte Global CIO Survey; please contact Kamal Ramsingh directly.

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