CIO report: Three CIO archetypes and how each delivers IT value

Based on the responses of 1,271 CIOs and senior tech leaders in its recent global survey, Deloitte identified three CIO personas: the trusted operator, the change instigator and the business co-creator.

The first part of this two-part post, Defining the CIO position: Don’t box yourself in,” explained that Deloitte’s study doesn’t claim that one persona is better than another. Rather it argues that the mode of delivering IT value should ideally match the business’ needs at the moment. Misalignment — whether because IT fails to operate at the level the business needs, or because the business is simply not prepared to follow IT’s vision — is not good.

“CIOs who can adapt and adapt quickly to changing business needs are the ones we think are going to are going to go a long way in driving very significant value for their organizations,” said Khalid Kark, director at Deloitte Consulting LLP and a principal author of the CIO report.

This post provides a rundown of the three CIO archetypes Deloitte derived from the survey responses, as well as the top business priorities, leadership traits, relationships, and technology investments associated with each.

Trusted operators

Trusted operators deliver IT excellence by focusing on cost, operational efficiency and performance reliability. They provide enabling technologies, they support business transformation efforts and align IT strategy to business strategy. This category comprises the largest percentage of survey takers: 42%.

Business priorities: Of the five business priorities cited by all the CIOs taking the survey — performance, cost, customers, innovation and growth — survey respondents identified as trusted operators singled out cost and performance as their top two.

Leadership: CIOs in this category rarely lead business innovation, nor do they spearhead growth efforts.  “Technology operations,” “execution” and “communication” as their top leadership talents.

Relationships and influence: Trusted operators typically report to the CFO and they actively engage with their IT workforce.

Tech investments: Digital technology will have the most impact on their businesses in the next two years, followed by analytics and cloud.

Change instigators

Change instigators lead transformation efforts and act as the change agent within the organization, according to Deloitte’s CIO report. This category represented the smallest number of CIOs taking the survey.

Business priorities: Customers and innovation are the top business priorities for change instigators. These CIOs are often brought in to change the status quo and look outside the enterprise for ideas.

Leadership: Change instigators see “communication” and “understanding” as their top two leadership strengths.

Relationships and influence: Change instigators are data-driven, using data from external and internal sources to help the business make decisions. They typically report to the CEO.

Tech investments: Change instigators see analytics as the technology that will have the biggest impact on their organizations over the next two years.

Business co-creators

The primary aim of business co-creators is to support and drive business strategy. This group accounted for about one-third of the survey respondents.

Business priorities: Business co-creators rank all five business priorities almost equally, striving to balance performance and cost goals with customer, innovation and growth goals.

Leadership: They see  “communication” and the “ability to influence internal stakeholders” as their top two leadership skills.

Relationships and influence: More than other CIOs, they are involved in business strategy and mergers and acquisitions. They engage with internal stakeholders across the enterprise.

Tech investments: They are interested in how new technology can drive revenue or change how the business delivers value to customers.

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