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Lenovo Study: How the CIO role has evolved

Lenovo recently commissioned a global research (1) study, looking at how the Chief Information Officer (CIO) role has evolved, shedding light on growing areas of responsibility, and increasing influence in the C-suite, as well as removing barriers to business growth. This global research was carried by Zeno Group in December 2021, they surveyed 525 CIOs across the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Singapore, China and Japan.

Technology today, not only has it advanced in terms of technological development and growth, it has expanded its scope and coverage beyond just technology, machines and gadgets. The modern world of technology is a key and important system, the nervous system that connects corporate strategy, finance, innovation, operations, and talent. CIOs are increasingly tasked with connecting with key stakeholders across the organisation to ensure alignment and driving execution. Information technology (IT) is embedded in every facet of a business in the modern world, CIOs believe that their organisations must continue to invest in digital transformation to remain relevant.

In the context of Singapore, what are the key findings from Lenovo’s study with the CIOs in Singapore? Here are key findings from Lenovo’s CIO survey in Singapore:

1) Nearly all CIOs in Singapore surveyed believe their roles have evolved and expanded in the past few years, and that they are being asked to make business decisions that go far beyond technology.

  • 93% of CIOs say that their role and responsibilities have expanded beyond technology, including non-traditional areas such as digital transformation and business process automation (65%), data analytics and business reporting (51%), and business model transformation (45%).
  • 83% say the CIO role has become more challenging compared with just two years ago as they are confronting a vast array of unique challenges, from the increasing use of AI and automation to talent acquisition in a global, remote workforce.
  • CIOs find it most difficult to solve challenges related to data privacy/security (77%), cybersecurity/ransomware (74%), keeping up with technological change (72%), adopting/deploying new technology (72%), and cloud transformation (65%).

2) The majority of CIOs in Singapore believe their role in the organisation has increased in influence.

  • 8-in-10 CIOs say they have a greater impact on their company’s overall fortunes than other C-Suite positions.
  • 84% agree that “my role as CIO is the most critical component of my company or organisation’s continued operation.”

3) As the CIO role expands and evolves, respondents say that their technology vendors play an invaluable role in their company’s overall success.

  • Business would feel an impact in no more than a few weeks if they halted spending on digital transformation initiatives, according to 60% of respondents. This speaks to technology’s role as a critical component of the business, not just a source of cost efficiencies.
  • Looking ahead, CIOs expect to turn to their vendors to help them solve a myriad problems in the next five years, including increasing their organisational agility (62%) and simplifying the configuration, deployment and maintenance of technology (50%), and optimise costs (49%).
  • 71% of CIOs agree their tech vendors are “so effectively integrated that it increases [their] overall productivity.”

4) Considering their new challenges and evolving responsibilities, CIOs suggest their current tech stack has much room for improvement.

  • Given the chance to reboot from scratch, most CIOs (57%) say they would replace half or more of their company’s current technology.
  • Compared to the previous year, 60% of companies are using more Device-as-a-Service in their tech stack.
  • As business models change, nearly all CIOs (88%) would definitely or probably consider adding new aaS offerings over the next two years.

“Modern CIOs are the ‘mission control’ for their organisations, their role has transformed drastically in just the span of the past 24 months,” said Nigel Lee, General Manager of Lenovo Singapore. “From navigating complex tech ecosystems to keep up with the speed of digital transformation, to upskilling employees and managing a global shortage of IT talent, today’s CIO is responsible for the entire technology value chain and beyond. Lenovo’s research demonstrates CIOs are up for the challenge. And they are looking to partner with their vendors to bring their organisations along and succeed.”

Research firm International Data Corp. estimates that by 2023, 60% of CIOs at companies world-wide will be primarily measured for their ability to cocreate new business models and revenue streams, chiefly through enterprise-wide collaboration (2). Yet Lenovo’s own research shows that it may be an uphill battle for CIOs, who have identified areas such as data privacy/security, cybersecurity/ransomware and managing a fragmented IT vendor ecosystem as their most challenging concerns.

“In this complex technological environment, CIOs want to innovate, not manage IT. As Lenovo’s research highlights, CIOs look to their technology vendors beyond just delivering the basics well – namely, increase organisational agility, simplify configuration, and optimise costs. IT leaders also need counsel and guidance on how emerging technology can enhance their business goals. The opportunities for technology to add real business value – right across the enterprise – are immense,” added Mr. Lee.

The modern business world today and beyond is going digital and online, the digital transformation journey can be increasingly complex and challenging for some businesses. Therefore, businesses need simple and flexible IT solutions to manage this increasingly complex IT journey. Lenovo has the solutions for business organisations, providing them the breadth of Everything-as-a-Service offerings in Lenovo TruScale; the flexibility to pay for the infrastructure solutions they need, as long as they need; and the depth in our expertise and services that empower CIOs to focus more on their strategic imperatives. Businesses of all sizes need the flexibility to stay competitive, and a scalable, cloud-like solution model is the answer.

Industry forecasts by Technology Business Research indicate that Device Subscription Services are growing at a CAGR of 26% from 2020 to 2024 and data centre subscription services are growing at 42% during the same period (3). As-a-Service solutions provide mission-critical support and services, enabling businesses to use technology to scale quickly, lower costs, and reap greater efficiencies. With its flexible and simple offerings, Lenovo has helped organisations from the education to aerospace sectors optimise the right technology with the potential to transform and future-proof their operations.

If you like to know more in-depth about how the role of CIO is evolving and changing in the modern business world, you can visit Lenovo website and check out the full study report and findings.


(1) The global research was commissioned by Lenovo and carried out by Zeno Group. It surveyed 525 CIOs across the United States, United Kingdom, Brazil, Singapore, China, and Japan. The research was carried out in December 2021.

(2) IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CIO Agenda 2022 Predictions, Doc # US48297821, October 2021

(3) Technology Business Research (TBR), Hardware Subscription Services Market Landscape, Third Calendar Quarter 2021

* Information and picture courtesy of Lenovo and WE Communications *

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