America’s chief information officers’ rating of both the current and future business environment dipped in December, due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding the supply chain, inflation and labor issues—combined with the upcoming mid-term elections and the current administration’s policies.
Their forecast for business conditions in 2022 declined nearly 3 percent month over month, to 7—measured on a 10-point scale where 10 is “excellent”—while their confidence in current conditions retracted 5 percent, to 6.7, since the prior month.
Those are the highlights from StrategicCIO360’s December CIO Sentiment Index flash poll of 75 CIOs, conducted November 29 to December 3, part of an ongoing effort by Chief Executive Group to measure the outlook, challenges, priorities and areas of focus of CEOs, CFOs, CHROs, CIOs and public company directors.
While they don’t expect business conditions to be as good as they expected when polled in previous months, 41 percent of CIOs nevertheless think conditions will improve in 2022—a projection they attribute to strong demand and a better handle on the pandemic. The same proportion say they expect the status quo for at least another year, while only 17 percent say they expect conditions to worsen, down 49 percent since our previous poll in late October.
A much greater portion of CEOs—39 percent—expect conditions to deteriorate, according to our December polling by sister site Chief Executive. Next in the C-Suite are CFOs, with 37 percent forecasting deteriorating conditions—more than twice that of CIOs.
Bill Nixon, CIO and director of technology and innovation at the Johnson County Kansas Government, is among the 17 percent who believe conditions will deteriorate over the coming year. “Increasing inflation, loss of commercial tax revenue, continued uncertainty about Covid-19 and political environment” are the reasons driving his rating of 4 (or “weak” according to the scale).
Yet, the majority forecasting either unchanged or improving conditions say they’re less concerned about inflation, Covid-19 and the political environment, believing these issues will soon subside. They cite continued growth in consumer demand, IT and cyber investments; recovery from Covid-19; and a growing ability to adapt to volatility and change as reasons for their optimism.
Daniel Black, SVP/CTO at InfoMc, says his forecast is driven by “adjustments to the new normal, finding new ways to market and measure success, and delayed decisions becoming a priority.”
John Douglas Vancil, CIO at Open Systems Technology, agrees. He says “experience and expectations of reduced Covid impact” are fueling his optimism.
“The return of the new normal will bring new opportunity for services, and we are well positioned to take advantage of it,” says Gerald A. Edwards, CTO at The Sourcing Group. He is also hopeful that Covid-19 will be behind us and expects conditions to improve from a 7 today to a 9 by this time next year.
The Year Ahead
The proportion of CIOs predicting increases in profits, revenues, staffing and investments dropped across the board in December. Overall, 54 and 68 percent of polled CIOs say they expect increasing profits and revenues, respectively, in 2022, down 10 and 7 percent month over month. In comparison, 71 percent and 78 percent of CEOs said the same, respectively, when polled last week. The proportion of CIOs predicting increases in these measures is the lowest across the C-Suite.
The number of CIOs projecting increases in IT staffing is also down this month, to 58 percent (-7 percent).
After the proportion of CIOs predicting increases in both cyber and tech investments skyrocketed last month, it retracted in December. Those predicting increases in tech investments fell by 12 percent since October, to 77 percent, while the proportion forecasting increases in cyber investments fell 6 percent, to 85 percent—after an 18 percent boost just a month prior.
About the CIO Confidence Index
The CIO Confidence Index is a new monthly pulse survey of CIOs and technology chiefs on their perspective of how current events are affecting their companies and strategies. Every month, StrategicCIO360 surveys hundreds of CIOs across America, at organizations of all types and sizes, to compile our CIO Confidence Index data. The Index tracks confidence in current and future business environments, as well as their forecast for their company’s revenue, profit, cyber and tech investments, and IT staffing for the year ahead. Learn more at StrategicCIO360.com/CIO-Confidence-Index