The future of the CIO: Money-makers or just IT people?

CIOs have a vital role to play in how a 21st century business grows revenues. But do CIOs really have a voice in the boardroom or are they still just the IT people? John Kennedy talks to Andrew Baird from Logicalis.

The role of the chief information officer (CIO) is evolving with more of a focus on how technology impacts revenue and strategy.

A recent survey by Logicalis Ireland, an IT solutions and managed services provider, founded that 61pc of CIOs have spent more time on strategic planning in the last 12 months whilst 43pc are now being measured on their contribution to revenue growth.

“It’s imperative that CIOs and IT directors are involved in the wider conversations happening in Irish boardrooms about company strategy and growth”

The survey reveals that although CIOs are becoming more strategic and accountable, they are under pressure with reduced budgets and higher security risks.

Almost half of respondents (48pc) say that their time spent on security defenses has increased in the last year, with CIO’s spending 25pc of their time on information and security compliance.

The increased strain is having a negative impact on CIOs’ enjoyment of their job. Almost half of CIOs (49pc) believe their job satisfaction has decreased in the last 12 months, whilst 29pc say their work/life balance has worsened. The expanded focus on strategy and revenue has had an impact on the amount of time CIOs are able to spend on innovation, with 30pc saying it has decreased in the last 12 months.

The CIO’s conundrum: Achieving 2020 vision

Man with brown hair in a dark suit and stripy tie.

Andrew Baird, managing director, Logicalis Ireland

The maintenance of technology remains a key aspect of the CIO’s role, with CIOs on average, spending one-third (33pc) of their time focused on day-to-day management of technology.

The latter point, however, is crucial in that while technology has moved to the cloud and every business in 2020 is quintessentially a technology business, the perception of CIO as the person who keeps the lights on and is responsible for the equipment everyone uses is still the same.

This is at odds, however, with the reality that technology is becoming the fulcrum through which revenues are increasingly arriving in a firm’s coffers, when you consider e-commerce and social media as bulwarks of today’s business.

I asked Andrew Baird, managing director of Logicalis in Ireland a few questions about this conundrum.

Do you believe CIOs and IT directors are listened to in Irish boardrooms?

I’d like to say yes, but that’s not always the case. I believe they have to be listened to. With digital transformation topping the list of priorities for many organisations, the role of CIOs and IT directors has never been more important. In fact, it’s a role that impacts the entire organisation, from what technologies and processes make up the internal infrastructure to what products or services the company is providing to its customers and how they are being delivered via APPs, Online or traditional channels. That’s why it’s imperative that CIOs and IT directors are involved in the wider conversations happening in Irish boardrooms about company strategy and growth. IT is central to an organisation achieving its business objectives and digital transformation is the most significant driver of business innovation – neglecting it is likely to be detrimental to the future of an organisation.

What impact do CIOs actually have on the bottom line or are they just viewed as keeping the lights on?

The responsibilities that fall under CIOs are wider-ranging than ever before. It is so much more than maintaining IT systems. Take security for example, this is a huge concern for organisations and CIOs are the people responsible for ensuring that systems and data are safeguarded effectively. As our latest CIO survey results show, they also have to contribute to company and revenue growth. We know this is possible from our own experience. In 2018, we made the decision to invest significantly in our own digital transformation with new tools and technologies, including a highly advanced IT service management platform. Not only did this enable us to further enhance our support capabilities, we are delivering more innovative solutions to our clients. In turn, this gives us the opportunity to grow our customer base and revenue streams.

Infographic denoting influence of CIOs on revenues.

Source: Logicalis Ireland

Written by John Kennedy (

Published: 6 February, 2020