Business leaders must embrace the true value of technology according to CA Technologies’ global ‘The Future Role of the CIO; Digital Literacy’ report. The study reveals that 80% of the 685 CIOs interviewed believe a lack of digital literacy amongst senior executives could be hampering growth.

CIOs fear senior-level digital illiteracy is causing a lack of market responsiveness, missed business and investment opportunities, poor competitiveness and slower time to market. Further, a fifth of the CIOs interviewed believe the C-suite does not understand the impact of new and emerging technologies.

“CIOs have to find radically different ways to move very quickly and spend low amounts of money to get to a position where they can demonstrate something of worth to the business,” said Jeremy Vincent, CIO of Jaguar Land Rover.

He believes CIOs are well positioned to identify strategic business thinking from an IT perspective. But, to do this successfully will take leadership, innovation and a holistic view of technology and the business.

The report highlights that almost a third of CIOs believe senior executives see IT as a cost of doing business, rather than as a means to grow the organisation, make processes more efficient and introduce greater agility and competitiveness.

As a result, it is not surprising that only 45% of CIOs globally are involved in the strategic decision making process, impeding the digital strategic thinking of the senior leadership team.

Professor Joe Peppard, director of the Information Systems Research Centre at Cranfield School of Management, believes senior managers must acknowledge that the value from IT comes not from technology, but from the ability to manage and exploit information. “A lot of organisations just wouldn’t be able to survive for very long without their IT systems,” says Peppard.

“CIOs are transitioning into the role of brokers of IT services; they will also be orchestrators of decisions concerning the architecture of the enterprise, innovation with IT, compliance and policies, and will have closer involvement with line of business managers in realising value from their digital strategies,” he continued.

Peppard believes that by working in this way, both the IT organisation and the CIO role will evolve and be able to lead discussions and education about how they drive the business forward through IT innovation.

“CIOs are in a good position to become more involved in strategic discussions. This will enable them to demonstrate how a particular digital strategy or project can deliver value, and win the credibility to take it forward,” Peppard concluded.

Vincent agrees, noting, “[CIOs] need to be able to stand their ground, show people they have an opinion and be able to demonstrate business value and understanding.””

“We regularly work with CIOs to help ensure they have the tools they need to communicate value effectively to the business,” said John Michelsen, CTO of CA Technologies notes. “We see CIOs becoming more involved with their business colleagues and communicating the value of technology more effectively. CIOs are much more in tune with their businesses than they were ten or twenty years ago.”

“However the CIO is fighting the belief that technology can create process efficiencies but it can never deliver value on its own,” he added.