The 2019 SIM IT Trends Study confirms the role and importance of the CIO continues to grow

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As part of SIM’s annual assessment of academic partnerships, this year’s report contains numerous insights into IT issues, spending, workforce practices, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and the role of the CIO.

“The growth of IT spending, especially since 2013, points to the growing importance of IT to the success of organizations” said Professor Leon Kappelman, primary investigator of the study.

SIM was founded in 1968 and is now the oldest and largest not-for-profit professional organization in the U.S. for CIOs, senior IT executives, and other IT leaders. Beginning in 1980, SIM has conducted a series of surveys of its members to determine the issues of most concern to them and their organization and to document the evolving usage patterns of the information technologies entrusted to their care. This year marks the 39th anniversary of this effort.

This year, IT executives – including 376 CIOs – at 618 organizations participated in the survey. As in previous years, the majority (96.3%) of the 618 are headquartered in the U.S. Average revenue of these organizations is $4.0 billion and the median $400 million. The average reported increase in IT budget is 6.6% and IT budgets as a percentage of revenue averaged 5.4%, remaining above the 11 year average of 4.9%. “The growth of IT spending, especially since 2013, points to the growing importance of IT to the success of organizations” said Professor Leon Kappelman, primary investigator of the study. The average IT budget of $215.2 million puts total annual IT spending of the 618 SIM member organizations at $133 billion.

Internal IT headcount continues to grow and projected growth for next year is also strong, but the number of external consultants and contractors continues the decline, following a pattern of the last three years. IT salaries are up 4.9%, as is the total spending for IT. Cybersecurity readiness continues to be on average, slightly above neutral, since it was first considered for evaluation in last year's survey. Similarly, most report that their Cybersecurity Training is only “moderately effective.” Signaling that more work is still needed in this area.

Finding and retaining IT talent continues to be a top concern to IT leaders, after Cybersecurity and Alignment. The skills “most-difficult-to-find” and “most-important-to the-organization” were Cybersecurity, Analytics, Enterprise/Application Architects, and Business Analysts.

For IT leadership within organizations, the survey found that 80% of CIOs came to their current position from an outside organization and almost a third of them had non-IT jobs prior to this one. The percentage of CIOs coming from prior IT positions has fallen over 25% since 2011. The average tenure of the top IT person was 6.3 years. Over 50% of CIOs report to their CEO, the highest level ever found by this survey, and less than 25% report to their CFO, the lowest. Continuing the increase of the past few years, CIOs are also spending more time interacting with other C-suite executives. “This year’s study confirms that the role and importance of the CIO continues to grow” said Kappelman.

The complete report is available at no charge to SIM members at and for $995 to non-members. Press, please contact Karis Miles at for a copy.

About the Methodology:

Since 1980, the Society for Information Management (SIM) has conducted a survey of its members to identify IT management concerns and to better understand who IT leaders are, how they manage, and what they do. The 2019 study gathered 1,033 responses from 618 unique organizations. A preview of this report will appear in the December 2019 issue of the MIS Quarterly Executive and an edited report will in the March 2020 issue.

About the Society for Information Management (SIM):

The Society for Information Management (SIM) ( is the world’s premier organization for IT leaders. Since 1968, SIM has inspired the minds of the most prestigious IT leaders in the industry -- including CIOs, senior IT executives, prominent academicians, consultants, and other IT leaders. Today, SIM is comprised of almost 5,000 members who come together to share, network and give back to their communities through the collaboration of SIM’s 44 local chapters.

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Samantha Kresz
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Karis Miles
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