Women CIOs report higher budget Increases

Tina Nunno, research vice president in Gartner's CIO Research group

In 2014, female CIOs expect to increase their IT budgets 2.5%, whereas male CIOs report an average increase of 0.2%, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc. The worldwide survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013 and included 2 339 CIOs, representing more than $300 billion in CIO IT budgets in 77 countries. Among the respondents to the 2014 Gartner CIO Agenda survey, 13.2% were women. The survey exposed key priorities, opportunities and threats facing its members across the globe.

Tina Nunno, research vice president in Gartner's CIO Research group, says the 2014 Gartner CIO Agenda survey data is encouraging in that it shows many positive similarities between women and men in the CIO role. They share similar reporting lines, priorities and technical challenges in the organisation. This is good news, and boards and CEOs should have confidence that gender is simply not an issue relative to strategic focus. Indeed, few variations in gender data show that women are embracing some digital trends in the same way as their male counterparts and, in some cases, even more so.

"However, the percentage of women CIOs has remained largely static since 2004, when Gartner first analysed the CIO Agenda survey data by gender. It is disappointing that the overall percentage of women in the role has not grown significantly in the last 10 years.

"Nevertheless, the female CIOs surveyed showed a significantly greater budget increase in their organisation than their male counterparts, while reporting that slightly less of the IT budget is in IT. This overall increase in budget may be correlated with subsequent data that shows a slightly higher incidence of chief digital officers (CDOs) in companies where female CIOs are present and may account for the increase in budget overall, with a slightly larger percentage of female CIOs' IT budgets being outside of the IT department," says Nunno.

When comparing the survey results on digital leadership, female CIOs were slightly more confident about their organisation's ability to deal with the wave of digital opportunities. When comparing the survey results on digital leadership, female CIOs were slightly more confident about their enterprise's ability to deal with the wave of digital opportunities. The survey found that 49% of female CIOs are concerned that the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope, while slightly more male CIOs 51%, shared this concern.

As mentioned, female CIOs are also more likely to have a CDO present in the organisation than their male counterparts. 8.9% of the women had a CDO present in their organisation, whereas just 6% of the male CIOs reported having a CDO. Additionally, 25% of the CDOs were women. These two trends combined, although very early on in the maturing of the CDO role and based on a very small global population of CDOs, will be important trends for both CIOs and CEOs to watch going forward. They may be an early indicator of women's affinity for the role or of some difference in the backgrounds of male and female executives that may bear further study and examination.

"Elsewhere, the technology priorities of female and male CIOs are more similar than they are different. The top three priorities for both genders were identical in sequence: business intelligence/analytics, followed by infrastructure and data centre, with mobile in third position. Cloud ranked slightly higher for women than it did for men, who placed ERP systems in fourth position and cloud in fifth. The remainder of the top 10 technologies were identical for the genders, if in slightly different order. As a result, there were virtually no significant differences in the top 10 technology priorities based on gender.

"There was a slight difference in the next ranked priorities. Female CIOs placed compliance as priority number 11, although it did not appear in the top 12 for men. Similarly, male CIOs ranked collaboration as No. 12, whereas it did not appear in the top 12 for women. At this point, there are no definitive reasons for these differences. In some cases, priorities fall lower or off the list when CIOs believe they have them well in hand. In other cases, the differences may be related to industry or enterprise maturity," Nunno concludes.



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