Korn Ferry’s Global Technology Officers practice surveyed 194 technology officers (chief information, technology, and digital officers) in North America on a variety of topics to understand their perspective on the role and the major business trends that are impacting the technology function.
The 2019 Technology Officer Pulse Survey found that technology officers in the region do not believe they have a successor in sight, with 71% saying they do not feel there is an internal ready-now successor for their role. In addition, 41% of technology officers do not feel they have a comprehensive succession plan.
“Technology officers are increasingly becoming an integral part of the C-suite and essential to an organization’s business success,” says Craig Stephenson, managing director of Korn Ferry’s North American Technology Officers practice. “It’s critical that organizations identify and develop a strong pipeline of successors across the technology function. It is an important aspect to ensure the rapidly evolving technology function continues to play an even greater role in helping organizations set and execute their business strategy.”
When asked about their top strategic priority, 41% of technology officers reported digital transformation. Not surprisingly, they also reported digital transformation as the area of their function most in need of a talent transformation (20%). In addition, when it comes to where technology officers spend their time, more than one-third (34%) said driving strategy, followed by nearly one-quarter (22%) reporting digital agenda.
“The need for organizations to digitally transform isn’t going away anytime soon,” says Stephenson. “Technology officers should focus on attracting, retaining, and developing top digital and technology talent to ensure the function is a business enabler in this digital transformation.” When asked about their most valuable career experience, almost one-half (46%) of technology officers said working at a company going through a transformation helped them build the skills they have today.
This year, more than half (51%) of the technology officers surveyed said they want to be a CEO during their career. However, they do not appear immediately ready for the CEO role, with only 12% saying this is the role they want next. Their ideal next move is to become a technology officer at a larger company (41%), followed by retire/have a board seat (17%).
Even if it appears as though technology officers do not feel ready to become a CEO in their next role, they are gaining greater exposure to the board, with 57% of the technology officers reporting they present to their company board on a quarterly basis (up from 47% in 2018).
“The role of the technology officer and the strategic technology function will continue to grow in importance as organizations continue to digitally transform their business models and deal with the ongoing threat of cyberattacks or security breaches,” says Stephenson.