CIOs must be “champions of change” for organizations to fully benefit from the cloud, mobility and collaboration, and data, according to a report from communications services provider BT.

Clearly, the CIO’s strategic role in enterprises is on the rise. Based on a survey of 1,030 senior IT decision makers in 11 countries, conducted by Vanson Bourne for BT in March 2016, 72% of the executives say the CIO has become more central in the boardroom over the last two years.

The flip side of this trend, according to the study, is that CIOs are increasingly challenged to find the time to develop creative solutions for the business. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of senior IT decision makers feel that they are spending more time maintaining current IT systems than searching for new solutions.

The BT report also shows that CIOs are clear on the most disruptive technology trends: cloud, mobility and collaboration, and data. One fifth of the organizations surveyed are already completely cloud-centric, and a further 46% have more than half their applications and infrastructure in the cloud.

With the CIO acting as a catalyst, 76% of large organizations worldwide have, or plan to adopt, a “multi-speed” approach to technology-led initiatives. This involves more creativity, more flexibility and a more dynamic operating model, the company says.

“The pace of digital change is creating new opportunities for our customers and those opportunities require quick responses,” said Luis Alvarez, CEO of BT’s Global Services. “The role of the digital CIO is one of the most demanding in business. They need to be strategic, creative, growth-minded and cost conscious.”

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