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What is the one question you would ask of CIOs? We want to know.

by Mark P. McDonald  |  July 30, 2012  |  15 Comments

It’s the end of July so two things are certain.  The weather is hot and we are planning for the upcoming Gartner Executive Programs CIO survey.  The survey, which has been running for more than 10 years now, looks at Business and IT strategies, technologies and priorities.  It also looks to get behind the scenes to understand the forces shaping IT.  This year’s survey is the work of Dave Aron, myself and hopefully you.

We have room to investigate an issue, question, hypothesis that you all provide.  So the question is – which question would you most like to ask CIOs for 2013?

Please provide questions in the comments to this blog post.  We will choose a question to incorporate from you in this year’s survey.  We will report back the answer to that question – in mid January – when we release the survey results on this blog.   Dave and I retain sole discretion to choose the question based on the following characteristics:

Provocative – the question produces interesting results in both the affirmative and in the alternative.  Questions that are one sided or nonsensical will be given a lower priority.

Researchable – a survey is a good way to ask the question and CIOs can  answer it in a survey.  Surveys are wonderful instruments to understand what is going on, but they do have their limitations.

Independent – questions that single out a particular company are not part of the survey. The survey is not a marketing survey so understanding a CIO’s likelihood to buy product X is not part of its purpose.

Actionable – questions that lead to CIO recommendations and actions will be given a higher priority.  It might be interesting to know that left handed CIOs are more effective than right handed CIOs, but that insight is hardly actionable.

So feel free to propose questions in the comments, build on proposals of others, etc.   Those submitting questions will all receive an electronic copy of the 2013 CIO agenda report when it comes out in January.

If your question is picked, then I am happy to present the CIO Agenda Findings and the Findings of your question to you and your team via an audio conference around that time.

We look forward to your contributions and ideas.

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Category: 2013  amplifying-the-enterprise  cio  strategic-planning  

Tags: 2013-planning  cio-leadership  cio-survey  strategy-and-planning  

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a Vice President and Fellow Emeritus in Gartner for General Managers Program.

Thoughts on What is the one question you would ask of CIOs? We want to know.

  1. Hello.
    Questions to the CIOs:
    1. How many new business opportunities, IT related or not, will you propose to your CEO in 2013?
    2. Are you running a “Simplify IT” campaign in 2013?
    3. Which percentage, in volume, of the IT projects 2013 in your organisation can be catalogued as innovative (something new or used in a completely new way)?
    4. If IT is catalogued as pre-competitive area in your industry, have you considered bundling your IT with the IT of some of your peers?

  2. John Hansen says:

    After years of focus on delivering distinctive value to the business, why is IT largely still viewed as a commodity cost center?

  3. My question to CIO:
    1. How to make top management aware of IT importance in the organisation?
    2. In most of the organisations, IT is still treated as separate part and they do not provide budgets whole heartedly without understanding the importance of IT. What CIO should do in this case?

  4. pearl zhu says:

    My questions would be:
    1. Centralized IT is more effective for business/IT governace, however, what’s CIO’s strateg/planing to make IT staff get to know more about business?

    2) There’re many brainstorming about EA maturity, does CIO see inter-related connection berween IT maturity and EA maturity, though usually EA groups also reports to CIO, is CIO a true loyal user/customer for EA, not just EITA,; Does CIO recommend EA as an effective communication tool for senior team? why?


  5. James Rogers says:

    In which area will you focus in 2013 for technology cost optimisation?

  6. What strategies if any will you propose to your company’s executive leadership to ensure that your business is as smart, responsive, informed, and as agile as your customers in your own business sector?

  7. Richard Sink says:

    How do you know the value of your intellectual property (IP) and how do you know when its been compromised?

  8. Gartner’s 2012 IT spending outlook predicts enterprise spending on public cloud services to grow from $91 billion worldwide in 2011 to $109 billion in 2012. By 2016, enterprise public cloud services spending will reach $207 billion. I propose a two-part question: Have you implemented cloud based applications that require information storage and management in the cloud? If “yes,” how were you able to alleviate your colleagues of the typical fears of lack of security around cloud computing?

  9. Mark P. McDonald says:

    Everyone, thanks for this great questions and please keep them coming. The good news is we are already asking about a number of these things but always open to other suggestions.


  10. pearl zhu says:

    Through numerous quality CIO brainstorming session, we conclude CIO is leadership role, we also envision some future trends for leadership:

    The question for today’s CIOs could be: what are top three leadership traits for future of CIO? thanks

  11. Rene Hermes says:

    IT departments must look beyond the IT department to
    the needs of the business. As such they have to market the IT department and deliverables.

    The questions I would include:

    1. How important is “marketing IT” to the CIO?
    2. What are key initiaitves CIOs run to bridge the perception GAP between what IT think they deliver versus what the business perceives is deliverd?

  12. How do you (the CIO) see technology’s place within your company changing in the next 3-5 years and what are you doing to prepare for that change?


    If you could see five years in to the future of technology, what one action would you recommend to your CEO?

  13. Aaron Kaffen says:

    “What metrics do you care about right now, and how do you see those changing as IT becomes more decentralized?”


    “How much did you spend last month on public cloud services?”

  14. brummieruss says:

    Its 14:27 on 08/13/13.

    What have you achieved that you knew you were going to achieve and what happened that completely came from left field.


  15. Matt Watts says:

    During 2013 and beyond as your users have more and more ways to access services by working around IT, do you see your IT function becoming

    1) A blocker – identify when people access services outside of IT, e.g.. Dropbox and block them from being used, due to security or control concerns
    2) A builder – spotting these groundswells where users find services outside of IT where they clearly see value, then you build them yourself
    3) A broker – identifying providers that can deliver these services for you, where you simply vet them as fit for purpose and being secure

    And how will you measure the value of the approach that you take?


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