CIOs often feel like they’re operating in a vacuum, wondering how their pressures and priorities stack up alongside those of their industry peers.  Is Shadow IT a problem? Is it better, from both a cost and practicality standpoint, to tap into the as-a-service movement rather than building and delivering all of your IT services in house? Is it time to give software-defined some serious consideration? And what does it mean to be a digitally enabled organization?

To find out, Logicalis has been conducting global surveys for the past three years to find out the answers to these and other pressing questions on the minds of CIOs around the world. The trends uncovered by these surveys have shined a spotlight on the way IT departments are transforming themselves from the backroom cost centers they once were to the services-led partners their organizations’ internal line-of-business (LOB) customers expect them to be today. The 2016 Logicalis survey is now underway, and if you’re a U.S. CIO or other top IT professional, we’d like you to take part: http://ow.ly/P3Dyg.

One of the most important trends uncovered in past Logicalis CIO surveys has been the growing threat from Shadow IT and the creative ways technology’s top talent have found to overcome it.

The 2013 Logicalis survey, for example, revealed that 60 percent of CIO respondents believed LOB managers would gain more power over IT decision-making in the next three to five years.  A year later, the 2014 survey – which polled top IT pros in 24 countries – proved this to be true: One in four CIOs said they had lost control of their organization’s information technology spending and acknowledge that the balance of power in that IT spending had already shifted decisively toward line-of-business executives. Last year, the 2015 survey found the trend accelerating.  Shadow IT, the survey showed, was a reality for 90 percent of CIOs, with almost one-third (31 percent) of CIOs globally saying they had been routinely side-lined when it came to making IT purchasing decisions.

The remedy, the survey indicated, was to transform IT departments from technology-focused to services- led organizations.  To do that, IT needs to become a broker of technology services – and the first step toward this service-defined enterprise model, experts agree, is to embrace a software-defined data center in which hardware configuration is maintained through intelligent software systems, freeing IT to focus on working more closely with LOB customers to deliver technology services as quickly and easily as those corporate technology users can purchase the services they need elsewhere.

Tellingly, the 2015 survey found that CIOs were already working to free themselves from day-to-day, technology-focused operational tasks, with 38 percent spending at least half of their time on more strategic activities that would lead them toward the goal of becoming a more digitally enabled enterprise., something that corporations have to do if they are to remain relevant in their respective markets.

Where is your organization along this journey? We’d love to hear from you: This year’s global survey will be available online until August 1, 2016, and the survey results will be available for download from the Logicalis web site at www.us.logicalis.com in Q3 2016.

Want to learn more?  Start by taking a quick look at this infographic, then read a press release synopsizing the results of the 2015 study, or download the complete 2015 survey results. You can also watch a brief video that explains CIOs’ shift from “technology-defined” to “services-defined” thinking, as well as a WatchIT video featuring Logicalis US CEO Vince DeLuca exploring ways to enable the digital enterprise. And you can download and read a Logicalis white paper: “Why Every CEO Wants to Lead a Service-Defined Enterprise and Why the CIO Needs to Make It Happen.”