By Daniel Hunter

73 per cent of current IT leaders are unsure that the CIOs of today will be the right people to lead IT within UK businesses within the next five years, according to new research commissioned by Reconnix, the Open Source and Cloud Service provider.

The Future CIO study surveyed 100 UK-based IT leaders to aggregate their thoughts on the future of technology leadership in the enterprise. When asked why they felt today’s CIOs will not be leading IT in the next five years 50 per cent cited a lack of general knowledge of business strategy, while nearly half (43 per cent) cited a lack of technical skills. 36 per cent also felt that their knowledge of IT and their skill sets will not be suitable for the IT landscape of 2018.

Even more worryingly for UK enterprises, over a third (37 per cent) of those surveyed also do not believe that enough is being done within their organisations or the industry to guarantee that future CIOs will have the skills they need to ensure business success.

Looking forward to the next generation, skill sets need to evolve drastically. Over two fifths (44 per cent) of IT leaders surveyed suggest that the CIOs of 2018 will have to be financially savvy, innovators (33 per cent), and will need to be able to act as a trusted business advisor (28 per cent).

Cross organisational collaboration will also be centre place as it is a widely held view amongst IT leaders that CIOs will have to strengthen their relationships with other business heads with the heads of legal (27 per cent), CFOs (20 per cent) and COOs (18 per cent) identified as priorities.

“It is evident that today’s CIOs are not being given the support to deliver the business acumen that they require,” explains Steve Nice, CTO of Reconnix. “Many feel isolated and this sentiment is currently reinforced at board level. As it stands more than a third of IT leaders do not believe that enough is being done to guarantee that future CIOs will have the skills they need to ensure business success. This lack of transparency and innovation at board level has to change if tomorrow’s CIOs are to be confident business leaders.”

In the next five years, 56 per cent of IT leaders believe Cloud (IaaS, SaaS, Paas) will be fundamental to the delivery of IT services within businesses and the majority also feel it will be important to have a knowledge in Open Source software. Previous research from Reconnix has forecasted the rapid growth of Open Source systems in the enterprise, which highlights the importance placed on this skill set by IT leaders.

“CIOs naturally lead the charge in innovation and our research shows that half feel that as new technological solutions are adopted it will require a new type of CIO to work with various business heads. Since CIOs intrinsically understand the IT space it stands to reason that to help drive technological and economic growth they must also understand business strategy.”

“Clearly the CIOs role must change if they are to become the business leaders of tomorrow. To do this they need to develop the skills that our report indicates they are currently lacking,” Continued Steve Nice.

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