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Canadian IT execs want the CEO job, study finds
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Canadian IT execs want the CEO job, study finds 

As IT becomes increasingly important for driving business transformation and growth, IT professionals are setting their sights on executive positions within the core decision-making team, including the CEO and COO roles. They’re looking to move from running IT and computer systems to running the whole business.

The survey found that 46 per cent of senior level IT professionals are interesting in one day being the CEO. And 82 per cent believe their experience as an IT decision-maker positions them to take on this role.

“The key thing here is that innovation is driving a new role for IT,” says Tony Ciciretto, president and CEO, Cogeco Data Services. “It’s led to more complexity, which requires new thinking, new partnership skills, and new skills in general. So the CIO’s approach is also leading to more opportunity for both the business as a whole and personal career development for them.”

The survey also found that 87 per cent of IT executives see the growing importance of technology for overall business success as increasing the odds for CIOs and senior IT leaders to step into the CEO position or other C-level roles in core business decision-making functions.

“CIOs will need to start focusing on new thinking, because the technology the way it’s shifting, it’s shifting the mindset of organizations, and this approach is really trying to transition from a technology to really much more of achieving business transformation,” says Ciciretto. “They need to really be at the business table, along with the CEOs, the CIOs, and many of the functional leaders like CMOs. It’s a requirement that would enable IT to really strengthen the business direction of the organization.”

This includes the perception of the role of IT, and the job description for IT executives, continuing to transform across Canadian organizations. According to the survey, two-thirds (61 per cent) of senior-level IT professionals feel that over the past three to five years, their job has changed in that they have more executive leadership responsibility.

Subsequently, 60 per cent of senior IT leaders also said they are now providing more strategic input into other business lines or functions. In terms of the impacts of technological innovation on their role, many IT professionals surveyed (46 per cent) felt that the IT department has shifted or is seeing a shift to being viewed as a profit driver versus a “cost centre.”

“We’re seeing that Canadian companies are adopting transformative technologies, including solutions for enterprise mobility, big data and cloud computing,” added Ciciretto. “The most successful companies will be led by executives who, regardless of their position or discipline, truly understand both the complexities and the potential of these technologies, and are able to turn them into business opportunities.”

The survey was commissioned by Cogeco Data Services and hosted on the Angus Reid Forum in March 2014.The online survey was conducted among 495 randomly selected Canadian adults aged 18+ employed in organizations starting from a minimum of 25 employees up to large enterprises, and are a decision-maker or influencer in IT decisions for their organization. Respondents included 143 executives in C-level or senior management positions, and 352 middle managers or intermediate professionals.

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