Guest post by Steve Chaffee, Solution Architect, Outsourcing & Enterprise Cloud Solutions

A new survey exposes startling findings about the way CIOs are viewed by non-IT leaders within their organizations – and how they perceive themselves.

In its 2012 “State of the CIO” survey of 596 top IT officers, CIO Magazine reports that only 22% say they are considered a “true peer or game-changer” by other business executives.   What separates the “Elite” CIOs – those who carry strategic influence – from the rest?  The report suggests it could be a difference of priorities.

Most of the “Elite” CIOs have bonuses tied to corporate goals, such as profitability and successful deployment of IT-intensive products and services.  One of them, Nancy Wolk of Alcoa, offered a way to quickly sort out priorities: “Does it help us grow or help us generate cash?” In 2012, those high-impact investments place emphasis on analytics, cloud services, outsourcing, collaboration, mobility and social media…technologies that “reduce the time and space between employees.”

What about the other 78%?  They claim to be perceived as “cost-centers” — internal service providers who are underappreciated and misunderstood.  There appears to be significant misalignment between these CIOs and non-IT business leaders when it comes to company-wide priorities such as cost-cutting and competitive threats.   A myopic focus within the IT organization may lead to sub-optimized corporate results, which can affect the prestige and influence of the CIO.

What do you think?  This is Ripe, and a CIO’s strategic influence should be correlated to her/his organization’s impact on key corporate measures, and having a CIO’s pay and incentives tied to corporate performance helps align IT to the business?  Or is this Hype?

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