Mideast CIOs 'up to five years behind West'

GITEX: IT professionals still seen as 'plumbing role' and not critical part of business - Gartner.

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By  Claire Ferris-Lay Published  October 20, 2008

Chief information officers (CIOs) in the Middle East believe they are up to five years behind their counterparts in the West, a senior executive at IT research and advisory firm Gartner told Arabian Business on Monday.

Speaking during a brief trip to Dubai, Elias Bayeh, EMEA vice president of Executive Programmes, said the impression of IT professionals in the Gulf is still that of a "plumbing role" and not a critical part of a business.

“[IT] hasn’t reached a level where people think it is a critical part of running a business and that CIOs don’t just run computers but generate revenue or [contribute towards] better customer service,” Bayeh said in an interview.

Bayeh said the job description for CIOs is undergoing a “radical change” in the region, but there is still a long way to do.

“The role of the CIO is becoming less more of a technical persona and more of a business person... [however] CIOs believe this region is three to five years behind in terms of implementing this type of CIO,” he said.

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