Midlands CIO Pulse

Midlands CIO Pulse
Published: 2 December 2019

As an IT & Digital Leadership Practice, we have a deep and specialist focus upon the needs and ambitions of talent within the nationwide CIO network. As a part of our most recent Midlands IT & Digital Leaders dinner we took a pulse reading from a cross-industry selection of leaders on a number of topical issues.  Matt Cockbill, Head of our IT & Digital Leadership practice shares our findings:

  • The toughest hires are leadership roles within cyber & infosec and business engagement leaders. This is in sharp contrast to our 2018 survey, which placed strategy & architecture as the most challenging of hires. Here, CIOs are investing more heavily in ‘growing their own’ due to market price pressure, and scarcity of ‘good value’ talent.
  • 75% of leaders are concerned about levels of succession talent within their organisation, which is up 17% from last year. However, we also saw a 50% increase in those who have clear and established succession plans in place across their teams.
  • Diversity & inclusivity remains high on the agenda for CIOs in the Midlands region. 50% reported that they have been successful in delivering greater gender balance in delivery and leadership teams, as well as achieving greater overall inclusivity.
  • Looking to the year ahead, we saw an increase of 8%, up to 50%, of CIOs seeking to develop capabilities beyond traditional borders such as AI, ML and advanced analytics as their prime objective. Automation and greater cloud adoption were close behind.
  • The often-thorny topic of a CIO’s reporting line showed an increase of a hard line to the CEO up to 50% from 42%.
  • Looking back in order to look forwards, we asked our guests: ‘If you could reset your career, what would you retrain to be?’
    In 2018 AI & analytics were riding high, with cyber security surging forward by more than 50% as the hot spot – with most citing exceptionally high contract rates as a cheeky incentive!

Organisational purpose

CIOs are hard-wired to push organisational change through delivering an enhanced digital workplace, as well as initiating and enabling the delivery of new digital products and services. To learn more, we sought CIOs views on the hot topic of ‘organisational purpose’.

75% of CIOs felt that they had an exceptionally clear understanding of the organisation’s defining purpose, but in stark contrast the remining 25% felt they had only a partial understanding. When hiring, it was culture and purpose that were influential in the minds of those people they brought into their organisation, with reputation following some way behind. Technology didn’t feature at all.

CIOs clearly are continuing to evolve and adapt and expect the same from their teams. Their contribution as an enterprise decision maker with a manifest impact upon customer success has never been clearer. With a mission that could be described as ‘Change, Innovate, Operate’, it is effective leadership above all else that secures their success, never more so than in volatile times such as these. As we begin the countdown to Christmas and the New Year I’m already curious to know what 2020 may have in store for us!

For more information, please contact Matt Cockbill, Head of the IT & Digital Leadership Practice at Berwick Partners.

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