CIOs not prepared for digitalisation era, reveals research

businessman unhappy

Digitalisation, the third era of enterprise IT, is beginning, but most CIOs do not feel prepared for this next era, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner. The survey showed that many CIOs feel overwhelmed by the prospect of building digital leadership while renovating the core of IT infrastructure and capability for the digital future. The survey found that 51 percent of CIOs are concerned that the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope and 42 percent don’t feel that they have the talent needed to face this future.

“2014 must be a year of significant change if CIOs are to help their businesses and public sector agencies remain relevant in an increasingly digital world,” said Dave Aron, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

The worldwide survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013 and included 2,339 CIOs, representing more than $300 billion in CIO IT budgets in 77 countries. The Gartner Executive Programs report “Taming the Digital Dragon: The 2014 CIO Agenda,” represents the most comprehensive examination of business priorities and CIO strategies.

Entering the third era of enterprise IT technological and societal trends, such as the Nexus of Forces and the Internet of Things, are changing everything; not only improving what businesses do with technology to make themselves faster, cheaper and more scalable, but fundamentally changing businesses with information and technology, changing the basis of competition and in some cases, creating new industries.

“CIOs are facing all the challenges they have for many years, plus a flood of digital opportunities and threats. Digitalization raises questions about strategy, leadership, structure, talent, financing and almost everything else,” said Mr. Aron.

Most businesses have established IT leadership, strategy and governance but have a vacuum in digital leadership. To exploit new digital opportunities and ensure that the core of IT services is ready, there must be clear digital leadership, strategy and governance, and all business executives must become digitally savvy. Indeed, the 2014 CIO Survey shows that the CEO’s digital savvy is one of the best indicators of IT and business performance.

In order to deliver on this bimodal future, CIOs are planning for significant change in 2014 and beyond:

— A quarter have already made significant investments in public cloud, and the majority expect more than half of their company’s business to be running over public cloud by 2020.

— Seventy percent of CIOs plan to change their technology and sourcing relationships over the next two to three years, and many are seeking to partner with small companies and startups.

— Forty-five percent of companies have implemented agile methodologies for part of their development portfolio, although most need to go further to create separate, multidisciplinary teams, with lightweight governance and new, digital skillsets and alternative sourcing models.

“If this transition succeeds and CIOs and their businesses ‘tame the digital dragon,’ massive new value for businesses can be created, and with it, a renewed role and greater credibility for the CIO and the IT organization,” said Mr. Aron. “However, if the dragon isn’t tamed, businesses might fail and the relevance of the IT organization will almost certainly disappear.”

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