Resistance to change and retaining talent among most difficult challenges for CIOs


Critical gaps in cyber security and automation have led to a significant change in priorities for CIOs, according to a new report

A study by US audit and advisory firm Grant Thornton found that CIOs prioritise developing IT strategies that align with their company's wider objectives above all else, and would prefer their success to be measured on the execution of IT strategies than other benchmarks.

The study into changing attitudes of CIOs, made in partnership with the Technology Business Management (TBM) Council, also found that although security and compliance remain the key concern of CIOs, business strategy is becoming more important too.

It found that 81% of CIOs believe that IT drives innovation and modernisation, while 75% think it's vital in overall business strategy.

"The days of the CIO serving strictly as an IT operator are over," said LaVerne H. Council, national managing principal for Enterprise Technology Strategy and Innovation at Grant Thornton.

"CIOs see themselves as trusted business partners, but the road ahead is not an easy one. CIOs should articulate the value of IT spend in the same terms measured by their business partners."

But CIOs are also coming up against major challenges in the IT landscape, including that other key stakeholders are resistant to change and have conflicting priorities. Other problems surfacing are lack of skills and talent and justifying IT spend to others in the business.

To respond to these threats and address gaps in resources, IT bosses are turning to technology, such as automation, cybersecurity software and intelligence. CIOs expressed particular concerns about the development of cyber security strategies, believing that retaining their top-tier talent and the evolving nature of the threat landscape are likely to pose a significant challenge to overcome.

Grant Thornton's study explained 85% of respondents were investing in automation software, 83% in cybersecurity tools and 30% are expanding the use of data to offer better insights into the organisation rather than just for information. CIOs also believe Artificial intelligence will be the most impactful area of technology to develop over the next three to five years.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.