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CIOs Get Respect

The perception of CIOs is evolving from managers of back-office systems to executives with knowledge of business processes.

CIOs finally may be getting the respect they deserve. While few CIOs sit on the boards of directors of the world's largest companies, 75 percent of global executives believe CIOs have a role to play on those boards, according to a recent study by Los Angeles-based executive search firm Korn/Ferry International.

The online survey of more than 2,000 executives from a variety of industries found that 46 percent believe CIOs "absolutely" have a role to play on a company's board of directors and 29 percent "somewhat" believe CIOs have a role to play on such boards. Only 3 percent say "not at all" when asked whether they believe CIOs have a role to play on the board.

"The pressure is on for companies to find board members who have a full complement of business experience," says Richard Spitz, global managing director of Korn/Ferry's technology market practice. Currently, the majority of company boards are comprised of CEOs, CFOs and other "general executive" members, he adds.

CIOs make up a very small minority of board members across large companies, Spitz continues. But, he notes, it's likely that more CIOs will be considered for board membership as the perception of their role evolves from that of managers focused primarily on regulatory compliance, back-end operations and administration, to that of executives who understand business processes and the competitive environment and who provide companies with a competitive advantage.

Tech Value Not in Question

Most executives do value the improvements technology delivers, however. In the Korn/Ferry survey, 96 percent of executives say they believe technology has improved efficiency at their companies.

When it comes to tech spending, 51 percent of respondents say they believe technology spending in the current economy was beginning to improve. Twenty-eight percent think it appears to be relatively stable, and 5 percent think current tech spending "is as good as it will get." Nine percent say they think tech spending is in "the midst of a major upswing," while 7 percent think "it may be poised for another downturn."

Courtesy of InformationWeek, a CMP Media property.

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee is a former editor for InformationWeek. View Full Bio

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