Gartner CEO survey: Something's wrong with this picture

The latest Gartner CEO survey reveals that CEOs don't really consider CIOs a strategic partner.

Gartner's latest CEO survey seems to reveal nothing out of the ordinary. That is, 85 percent of CEOs surveyed said they believe their enterprises will be impacted by an economic downturn in 2012. However, by a ratio of more than two to one, the CEOs said they'll be increasing their tech investments in 2012, despite the less-than-rosy outlook.

But that's not the weird part. CEOs know that if they want their companies to grow at all, they're going to have to invest in newer technologies like mobile and cloud. And it looks like they depend on their CIOs to make these things happen in a structured and strategic way.

Now for the weird: When the CEOs were asked who leads innovation in their firms, about one-third of the respondents said themselves, followed by the CFOs and various other senior management leaders. But guess who was rarely mentioned? The CIO.

So what's happening here? Is the disconnect the fault of CIOs who are not developing a stronger strategic relationship with CEOs? Or is there a misperception on the part of CEOs about their CIOs?

My guess is that it's a little of both. But also, I think that more CEOs are clued into tech innovations that are happening because they are so mainstream. In other words, good CEOs are going to be knowledgeable about emerging tech that can move their businesses forward. You can't click on a mainstream publication without reading about mobile tech and the cloud and security.

So the CEOs work with the CFOs to determine the costs and cost savings, then they pass the task on to the CIO to just make it happen.

Have you all seen this in your companies?

By Toni Bowers

Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.