Most CIOs are now on the board but they have little influence over core business strategy, according to research.

A survey carried out by Bull Information Systems has found that 79 percent of CIOs now have a seat at the boardroom table and almost all (93 percent) report directly to the CEO.

But the study of 150 CIOs found that despite their new-found status, most still struggle to have any real influence on the strategic direction of the businesses they work for, with fewer than 10 percent saying they have the freedom to set their own agenda in their current job.

"In our experience, many CIOs struggle when it comes to presenting a business plan that will gain the attention of other board members including the CEO and the finance director," said Andrew Carr, sales and marketing director at Bull Information Systems.

He said: "If CIOs want to be listened to by the board and have real influence on business strategy, they need to change their mindsets and focus on developing plans with real benefits, including methods to reduce costs and bring quick return on investment."

The potential is clear though, as the Bull survey saw 69 percent of CIOs saying IT was seen as a driver of innovation in their business - making their failure to get the message properly across at board level still more frustrating.

A recent Gartner survey of 220 CEOs in organisations worldwide also highlighted the disconnect between the CIO and the rest of the board, by showing that the stereotype of the head of IT being too preoccupied with technical issues to be an effective business leader still persists.