Anna Frazzetto's Blog

Digital Innovations and Technology Solutions

CIO Survey Forum - Denver

Denver Market Above Average - How Does Your Market Compare?

Traveling around the country to share results and solicit feedback from the Harvey Nash 2007/08 CIO Survey has been interesting to say the least. I am getting comments about all angles of the survey, some surprising and some what I would expect. Together with CSIA, Colorado's Technology Association and KPMG, Harvey Nash hosted a CIO Forum in Denver last week. There I had the opportunity to talk with a group of senior IT executives, including John Heveran from Level 3 Communications, Michael "Mike" Casullo from WildBlue Communications, Jim Lubinski from Western Union and Micki Nelson from MWH Global about the results of Harvey Nash's national survey and how they compare to the Denver market. Here are a few interesting key points that I walked away with:

1. Offshoring/outsourcing: Less money is being spent in Colorado on outsourcing. Why? Give the statistics just a passing glance and you would think that Denver is not supporting the national trend toward increasing offshore and outsourcing activity as a means for gaining competitive advantage, decreasing annual budget spend on support initiatives and increasing technology capability by learning from the vendors. A deeper look at the findings reveals this is actually not the case at all.

Denver is actually very progressive in the utilization of outsourcing. I think what skews the numbers is that more than 15 percent of the Colorado-based respondents to the survey reported spending more than 40 percent of their budget on outsourcing. In comparison, only 6 percent of national survey participants reported spending more than 40 percent of their budget on outsourcing, resulting in what seems like a lower percentage being carved out for these initiatives.

In my opinion, Denver is one of the unique cities that have successfully implemented knowledge transfer programs between the vendor and company. Clearly the focus is to set the right expectations from the beginning -- to focus on communication plans and the process for how the work is transferred between organizations.

2. CIO Influence: More CIOs in Denver report to CEOs instead of CFOs. The percentage of CIOs in Denver who report to the CEO is 48 percent. That's quite a difference from the 29 percent reported in the CIO Survey on a national basis. Additionally, more CIOs in Denver have a seat on the board -- 44 percent versus the national 37 percent. Interestingly enough, I think the reason that CIOs in Denver have a seat on the Board is that more report to CEOs -- there is a strong link between reporting to the CEO, CIOs' strategic involvement, sitting on the board and overall job satisfaction.

3. Integration of IT and business: This is one area where Denver was just about on par with the national statistics. According to the national survey, there was a 14 percent improvement in IT and business integration when comparing year-over-year results. One reason for the increase across the nation is that companies have been very successful in implementing the business liaison role to better integrate the IT and business functions. As I shared in my most recent blog, there are three key factors that I've noticed in my work with various IT departments that are successfully putting IT in synch with business goals:

1. IT must have a seat at the strategic table to drive the business forward.
2. IT must be managed as a business not as a separate support/utility type of service provider.
3. Business plays a key role in IT strategy and IT plays a key role in business strategy -- they must go hand-in-hand.

Denver is a leader in this arena. What have you noticed in comparing the CIO Survey results with your own market? Any differences? Similarities? Revelations? Conclusions? Please share.