Thursday, March 24, 2011

Is the CIO the highest ranking IT executive in a company?

InformationWeek generates an annual list of 500 of the "nation's most innovative IT organizations, providing a unique opportunity to understand and examine the business practices of these firms across core areas of operations, including, technology deployment, IT budgets, business-technology infrastructure, and IT strategies" (IW500 FAQs). Although the IW500 collects a great deal of benchmark data I only took the publicly available (i.e. free) demographic information from the 2010 list and put the data in a spreadsheet.

Although the basic methodology for determining the IW500 may have weaknesses, the data still provides a useful snapshot of the current state of IT governance across industries. The variables include the organization name, industry, name of the 'highest IT executive' in the company as well as the title of the highest IT executive. I did a simple text analysis of the titles to determine how many companies identified their highest IT executive as someone holding the title of Chief Information Officer. Of the 500 companies on the list, 386 (77.2%) included CIO as one of the titles of the highest ranking IT executive. Some organizations listed other C-level executives or joint-titles including CTO, CFO, VP for Information Technology, and even CEO. See the chart I created that breaks down the number companies on the list by industry. For the 114 companies that included someone other than a CIO as the highest ranking IT executive, it remains unclear whether or not those organizations have a CIO at a lower level in the company. View or download the Google Spreadsheet I created for additional data [1=Yes; 0=No].