CIOs adopting ‘safety first’ approach

Safety helmet

CIOs are downplaying innovation in favour of ‘playing it safe’, believing that getting the job done on time and to budget outweighs risk taking, according to a survey by YouGov.

The research, commissioned by software vendor Sage, showed efficiency and safety are high scoring personality traits among the CIOs questioned. Budget management is seen as key – keeping to budget was the highest priority for 53 percent of respondents – and the bigger the company the more budget-conscious they tend to be.

Only 28 percent of CIOs questioned agreed that the most important personality trait was ‘not being afraid to take a risk’, although those in the industry for longer tended to agree more than those comparatively newer in their career. In fact, 64 percent agreed that ‘knowing when to play it safe’ was the key trait to show in IT, though nearly half (46 percent) agreed that the highest priority was ‘being a visionary and always looking to innovate’.

The stand out trait was ‘working efficiently and getting the job done, according 72 percent of the IT movers and shakers.

It also appears that as the size of organisation increases, so does the budgetary restriction on innovation – 66 percent of mid-sized and large businesses agree. In fact, 63 percent of mid-large businesses feel it is ‘very important’ that they deliver transformational change on budget, compared with only 49 percent of small businesses.

“Mid-sized businesses particularly face very different pressures from their smaller peers whom they have outgrown,” says Stuart Lynn, CIO & CTO, Sage UK & Ireland. “It’s clear they are motivated by a desire to control their technology landscape under greater budgetary pressures, yet by not making time to promote the power of IT and the possibilities that mobility and BYOD can bring, for example, CIOs may be missing out on taking their organisation to the next level.”

The research also indicates that CIOs have yet to cement their place on the board, and many still occupy an operational position, despite the rising value of technology to the modern business.

“CIOs that can address the pain points and simultaneously grow the customer base will likely find they soon get an expanded role at the top table,” says Lynn. “There is huge scope to shape the very fabric of the business. The CIO role is changing, and the skills and possibilities an innovative CIO can deliver for their business are greater than ever before.”

The study spoke to 518 IT decision makers from British businesses.


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