For our survey we talked with more than 700 business executives: CIOs and VPs of IT; IT managers and staff; CXOs (CEOs, CFOs, COOs), and line-of-business managers. The idea was to generate a well-rounded view of what makes for a highly effective CIO.
Reporting structure is one of the most controversial topics when it comes to the CIO position. However, survey respondents were unequivocal: To be effective, the CIO needs to report to the CEO, according to 79% of CIOs, 78% of IT managers and staff, 66% of LOB managers, and 62% of CXOs.
And the CFO isn't the alternate manager of choice: For more than a quarter of CXOs (28%), the CIO should have the chief operating officer as his or her direct manager to be most effective.
Unfortunately, the reality is that only a little more than half of CIOs (57%) actually report to the CEO today; a significant though lower-than-expected number (16%) report to the CFO. Perhaps the most encouraging sign is that 22% of CIOs say they report to their COO.
Oddly, but somehow appropriately, a not insignificant number of CIOs (5%) don't know whom they report to.