Technology leaders must swap control for influence in a new digital age – Harvey Nash / TelecityGroup CIO Survey 2013

April 14, 2013

More than one in five CIOs believe that their direct control over technology has diminished since the start of the recession, whilst the proportion of companies where more than ten per cent of technology spend lies outside the control of the IT department has almost doubled to 40 per cent in the last three years.
Despite this, CIOs see their roles as growing in importance, but recognise that their value is increasingly driven through collaboration and influence, rather than direct control.
This is according to the 15th Annual CIO Technology Survey 2013, conducted by Harvey Nash in association with TelecityGroup, presenting the views of more than 2,000 CIOs and technology leaders across twenty countries.

Key indicators of how direct control is changing for CIOs: 

  • Growth in ‘informal’ IT: The proportion of IT departments where 10 per cent or more of IT spend is controlled outside the IT department has increased from 23 per cent in 2011, to 33 per cent in 2012, to 40 per cent in 2013 
  • Marketing, Sales and specialist Digital teams increasingly becoming technology ‘owners’: One third (33 per cent) of digital projects are owned and run by marketing alone and a further 42 per cent are jointly run by IT and marketing
  • Growth in Bring Your Own Device: 46 per cent expect the proportion of their IT estate to be owned and managed directly by users to grow over the next year
  • Continuing trend of using external providers rather than internal teams: 43 per cent expect to increase spend on outsourcing, almost three times as many as those expecting a decline in spend (16 per cent). 27 per cent of IT departments employ a quarter or more of their team on a flexible basis; the highest it has been since the survey started tracking this factor in 2010.
Key indicators of how influence is changing for CIOs:
  • Reporting line to CEO rises: There has been a steady rise in the proportion of CIOs reporting to the CEO, from 28 per cent in 2009 to 32 per cent in 2013 as CEOs increasingly are expecting CIOs to prioritise projects that ‘make’ money over ‘saving’ money (62 per cent versus 38 per cent)
  • Influence becoming more important: Almost four in ten CIOs (39 per cent) believe they are using more influencing skills than ever before,  compared to just four per cent who believe they are using them less

  • CIOs more strategic: Over two-thirds (70 per cent) believe the CIO is becoming more strategic to the company.
Despite the CIO’s growing influence, there is still room for more collaboration. Although almost two thirds of CEOs favour technology projects that ‘make’ rather than ‘save’ money, the CIO collaborates least well with the Marketing and Sales function, with almost three quarters (72 per cent) saying the relationship could be improved (compared to 38 per cent for Operations, and 51 per cent for Finance).
Commenting on the results Albert Ellis, CEO Harvey Nash Group plc said: “As technology has become pervasive and central to business, the CIO is increasingly no longer the only executive around the board room table responsible for the procuring and management of technology. The CIO of the future will be increasingly required to influence the business rather than merely controlling systems and hardware. The shock finding in this survey is that the relationship with the sales and marketing function requires more work; a critical area given the growing importance of digital, mobile and social media.”
Rob Coupland, Managing Director of TelecityGroup UK commented: “For senior technologists who have ruled their IT domain without significant interference in the past, CIOs are now increasingly focusing their attentions on building coalitions and collaborating, particularly with the Chief Marketing Officer, in order to achieve their technology vision. This focus on inward relationships is being balanced by an outward focus as CIOs continue to increase their use of outsourcing partners. This is certainly something we are seeing at TelecityGroup: for CIOs to focus their energies internally they are increasingly looking to partners to take the strain of the operational issues.”


About the research:
(i) Survey conducted online by Harvey Nash between 07 January 2013 and 01 April 2013 amongst 2,038 senior level IT professionals from businesses across the world.  This is the 15th in a series of annual CIO surveys conducted by Harvey Nash to identify emerging trends and issues in IT leadership.
(ii) For more information about the survey and to request a full copy of the results, please visit or email

Media Relations contacts:

Rob Grimsey
Group Marketing Director, Harvey Nash plc
+44 (0)20 7333 0033
About Harvey Nash
Established in 1988, Harvey Nash has helped over half the world’s leading companies recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive, global and technology driven world. With 4,000 experts in 40 offices across Europe, Asia and the U.S. we have the reach and resources of a global organisation, whilst fostering a culture of innovation and agility that empowers our people across the world to respond to constantly changing client needs. We work with clients, both big and small, to deliver a portfolio of services: executive search, professional recruitment and outsourcing.
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About TelecityGroup plc
TelecityGroup is Europe’s leading provider of premium carrier-neutral data centres, operating facilities in city locations across Europe.
TelecityGroup’s data centres provide secure and highly-connected environments for the IT and telecoms equipment that powers the digital economy. Its data centres are enabling environments in which the separate networks that make up the internet meet and where bandwidth intensive applications, content and information are hosted.
TelecityGroup’s customers are the networks and providers of content, applications and data that make up the internet. Customers choose TelecityGroup because of its high-quality infrastructure and service standards, connectivity options and capacity to support their future growth.
Telecity Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: TCY).