This research includes findings from: * 11 CIO primary research interviews * Four months research time * 12,800 words count *

This Special Report from Delta is a detailed study of the IT leadership role in the words of CIOs themselves. The aim is to understand what traits, habits and strategies converge to define an exceptional technology leader.

Delta talked to a group of leading CIOs, asking for their opinions on a variety of topics; including their key challenges, what motivates them and what emerging technologies they’re especially interested in.

By speaking to 11 of the UK’s foremost technology professionals – including IT leaders at the Met Office, Trainline and the Financial Times – Computing Delta has brought the CIO role under the microscope. In this report we examine the motivations and priorities of today’s IT leaders, the technologies which excite them, their challenges, and how they overcome them.

This report covers the following areas:

  • What defines a great CIO – is it innovation, a willingness to make hard decisions, an ability to communicate with non-technologists or something else?
  • The modern CIO’s challenges, including cybersecurity; the skills gap; and gaining acceptance by the board.
  • Important technologies for the CIO to be aware of and investigating.


Table of contents

Executive Summary

  • Key findings

Research Overview

  • Research respondents

What drives a CIO?

  • Making a difference

How does a top CIO innovate?

  • The dangers of a top-down approach
  • Innovation versus creativity
  • CIO – should the ‘I’ stand for innovation?

Separating the great from the merely good

  • All about transformation
  • Bringing the business on-board
  • IT as an enabler

Main challenges for the modern CIO

  • Cybersecurity
  • Recruitment
  • Acceptance as a business leader
  • Ownership

The classic three year tenure – is it still the norm?

  • The appeal of transformation

What top CIOs do when they start new roles

  • Understanding the business
  • Building a network
  • The importance of benchmarking
  • Don’t forget the customers
  • Avoid replicating past success

The technologies exciting and inspiring today's CIOs

  • Automating for success
  • Cloud-everything

What do modern CIOs look for in their vendor partners?

  • Understanding their other customers
  • The importance of word-of-mouth
  • Seek out shared values


Avoid making costly errors (when making IT investment and implementation decisions)

UK and European research, not USA focused or vendor biased

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