Supplier trust is a critical factor for success

Technology fails. It doesn’t matter whether it is caused by human intervention or pure equipment failure but technology is not infallible. The vast majority of CIOs made it clear that when it came to choosing technology partners it is about their ability to respond to service interruption that makes the difference.

The trust in a partner is also highly likely to influence buying decisions often to the annoyance of procurement teams. Almost 90% of German CIOs felt that price was secondary to trust while in France and the UK CIOs were not that far behind. It is a shame that none of the CIOs were from local or national governments where there is constant pressure to take the lowest bid in order to get value for money. In fact, these responses show that value is not always about the money and there are other things that must be considered when making purchasing decisions.

Honesty is also part of this trust matrix. CIOs rate the willingness of suppliers to be open and honest even when it proves them wrong as very important with the UK more concerned about this than France and Germany. These levels of trust are not just about professional response. Career risk is also on the line here. CIOs want those they work with to understand that their teams performance reflects on their own professional reputation.

CIOs see no risk from hacking and new entrants

All surveys have numbers that surprise. In this case the issue is around the biggest risk to both the company and the CIO. There appears to have been no specific question about a data breach which seems strange at many levels. Instead CIOs rated an external event such as an outage or natural disaster as being the biggest risk to the business. When it came to personal risk that same view was taken by Germany and France but UK CIOs see the implementation and management of new technology as the biggest risk to their own careers.

At the other end of the scale, there was little risk seen from increased competition from new entrants into the market. Given that this report covered industries such as IT, Financial Services, media and manufacturing this is quite a surprise. In all of these areas there is significant pressure from new entrants who have been born into the cloud.

These new entrants have little to no infrastructure costs early on so they can match investment with growth rather than spending and hoping that growth happens. Similarly, they are better equipped to use the Internet to source materials and even products as they have no factories or workforces to support. Those with the most concern were France where just 9% of CIOs rated new entrants as a risk.

Compliance and regulatory change is not seen as a significant risk to either the company or the CIO. Given the increasing rate of data breaches and the seriousness of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force next year this is either supreme confidence or rank indifference. The size of fines for losing personal data are high enough to have serious consequences for businesses and in areas where margin is already tight, those consequences are likely to be business ending.


There is a lot of interesting data in this report that goes well beyond the fact that CIOs are becoming personally invested in the risk and concern of the business. There are also great contradictions. The lack of concern over new entrants and compliance seems to be at odds with CIOs saying they see increasing risk to their own careers.

Suppliers will take heart from the fact that the vast majority of CIOs value professional relationships and quality support over buying at the lowest price. This shows that CIOs are aware of what is important for the business rather than trying to squeeze every penny out of a deal.

Perhaps the most interesting thing of all is that CIOs are more likely to trust their own experience and gut feeling than the data and intelligence they have access to. One can only hope that the CIO doesn’t make big decisions the day after a dodgy oyster.


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