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More CIOs are gaining stature as business strategists

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The measure of a CIO is in how everyone else in the company views the IT organization.

Many CIOs strive to create an IT group that is the department people call first when a new business idea strikes. Even better, they strive to be there at the idea's birth. These are some of the findings of CIO magazine's 12th annual State of the CIO survey.

According to the findings, 64 percent of the 563 IT leaders surveyed plan to focus on marketing the IT department in 2013, to show off IT's capabilities to the business side. That's up from 55 percent in 2012, CIO editors say. CIOs are making strides to elevate their team's relationship with business stakeholders by delegating more, developing leadership and cross-functional skills among their IT staff, and turning their attention to customers. For example, a third of CIOs now visit customers, up from 18 percent two years ago.

But perception challenges persist. An estimated 20 percent of CIOs say their IT groups are seen as business partners who develop, not just enable, business strategy. On the flip side, the majority remain stuck in the middle: 32 percent as influential collaborator on IT, 26 percent as service provider and 15 percent as cost center.

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