Bridging the gap: How UK CIOs can become strategic business partners

26 July 2016
  • Leadership and analytical skills together with strategic vision identified as top three soft skills required by successful CIOs
  • IT directors spend 54% of their time on operational tasks and 45% on strategic initiatives
  • Only 40% of CIOs say they have a strategic vision for how technology can add value to their business

London, 26 July 2016 – UK CIOs are gradually changing how they work within organisations, according to new research from Robert Half Technology1.  As part of this shift they need to demonstrate additional attributes beyond technology expertise and according to CIOs, the most important of these is leadership skills, followed by analytical skills, strategic vision and communication skills. 

Almost two thirds (62%) of CIOs believe they already have strong analytical skills, while 53% claim to have leadership skills and 51% have communication skills, but only 40% believe they have a strategic vision for how technology can be used within their organisation, suggesting that this is an area for improvement in the future as CIOs move further into strategic partnership roles.

The three biggest challenges facing IT directors when acting as a strategic IT partner are lack of technology investments and resources (cited by 30% of respondents), talent and skills shortages (23%) and lack of time (13%).

Neil Owen, Director, Robert Half Technology, commented: “The digital transformation agenda is creating a need for CIOs who can move away from day-to-day operational tasks to add value as strategic partners to the business. Given the importance of the CIO in all organisations’ ongoing programmes of change, it’s vital that IT directors have the right mix of resources in place to handle operational work while helping the business exploit new technology to build better business processes.

“However, it seems that CIOs feel they are being held back from this change in role by the pressure on technology and people resources at their disposal and potentially by their ability to build a strategic vision for IT. Where transformation or key projects are scheduled, bringing in contract IT professionals to support the team through this period of change will allow the freeing up of time for strategic planning for CIOs.”

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

1 The annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and is conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 100 interviews with technology directors from companies across the UK, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. Founded in 1948, the company has over 325 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology and administrative professionals. For more than 15 years, Robert Half has been named to FORTUNE® magazine’s list of “Most Admired Companies” and offers workplace and job seeker resources at roberthalf.co.uk and twitter.com/roberthalfuk.