Korn Ferry’s Global Technology Officers Practice surveyed 199 Technology Officers (Chief Information, Technology and Digital Officers) on a variety of topics to understand their perspective on the role and the major trends impacting the technology function.

The role of Technology Officers continues to grow in importance

“It is critically important to have talented, agile technology team members in key roles across the organization, and to create a clear path for advancement so these people have a reason to stay. It’s imperative that the top Technology Officers create a culture where employees are rewarded and recognized for great work.” 


-Craig Stephenson, Managing Director, Korn Ferry North America Technology Officers Practice

  • 83% of Technology Officers say their role is more strategic than it was three years ago.
  • 81% say they are experiencing greater exposure and playing a greater role with customers, products and services.
  • 67% say they are on their company’s executive committee, which is up from 55% in a Korn Ferry survey conducted the year prior.

Technology function not fully understood by CEOs

“A high-impact and strategic technology function should absolutely be seen as a business enabler as it can help with customer attraction, interaction and retention, and can establish efficient and effective business outcomes. If Technology Officers feel their role is undervalued, lacking alignment across the executive committee or challenged in securing adequate funding to address key issues, it is possible they reach a level of frustration and ultimately leave. Technology Officers want to drive impact and results across the enterprise, especially with more responsibilities related to the digital agenda.”


-Craig Stephenson, Managing Director, Korn Ferry North America Technology Officers Practice


  • When asked about their CEO’s perceptions of the Technology Officer function, 32% of respondents say their CEO does not fully understand the role.
  • 38% believe the CEO and Board still see the Technology Officer function as more of a cost center than revenue generator.

The importance of succession planning

“It is imperative that organizations identify strong successors for high performing Technology Officers and based on the complexity and importance of the function, we are seeing this topic discussed much more frequently. The impact and scope of the Technology Officer continues to evolve at a rapid pace and we foresee the function playing an even greater role in the years to come.” 


-Craig Stephenson, Managing Director, Korn Ferry North America Technology Officers Practice

  • 38% of Technology Officer respondents said they plan on staying in their role for only two years or less, with 19% saying they plan on staying less than a year.
  • 44% disagree that there is a “ready now” successor for their position. 
  • As for their own career plans, only 4% of Technology Officers surveyed said they want to be CEO, and 86% disagree that they are in fact a successor to the CEO.












What did Technology Officers say is the #1 thing that keeps them up at night?


28% of Technology Officers said "threat of cyber-attacks/cyber security breach" is the #1 thing that keeps them up at night.




What did Technology Officers report as their ideal next career move?



34% of Technology Officers reported "becoming CIO at a larger company" as their next ideal career move.






About this study

The global survey of 199 Technology Officers (Chief Information, Technology and Digital Officers) took place in late 2017.


About Korn Ferry's Technology Officers Practice


Korn Ferry’s Information Technology Officers Center of Expertise specializes in assisting companies to recruit, develop, and retain best-in-class leaders. Today’s Chief Information Officer has advanced from the Data Processing Director role of the late 20th century to an important C-suite executive by driving growth and creating strategic value for the organization and its stakeholders. With the emergence of the Cloud, Big Data, mobile apps, social networking, and digital services, today’s CIOs face increasing demands to be innovative, learning agile, and offer transformative leadership. Korn Ferry offers a full suite of talent solutions for IT officer roles, including strategic search from a global pool of exceptional candidates, competency and simulation-based assessments, executive coaching, onboarding success support, high-potential development programs, readiness development, and succession planning.


About Korn Ferry


Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We help companies design their organization – the structure, the roles and responsibilities, as well as how they compensate, develop and motivate their people. As importantly, we help organizations select and hire the talent they need to execute their strategy. Our approximately 7,000 colleagues serve clients in more than 50 countries.

Download the 2018 Technology Officers Pulse Survey