Gartner Survey of More Than 3,000 CIOs Confirms the Changing Role of the CIO

Bengaluru, India, October 3, 2017 — Digitalization and technological innovation are changing the nature of the job of the CIO. Leaders are rapidly scaling their digital businesses, making the remainder of this year and 2018 a defining moment for CIOs who don't want to be left behind. Gartner, Inc.'s annual global survey of CIOs showed that the CIO role is transitioning from delivery executive to business executive, from controlling cost and engineering processes, to driving revenue and exploiting data.

Gartneranalysts presented the survey findings during GartnerSymposium/ITxpo, which is taking place in Ontario through Thursday.The 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from arecord number of 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and all majorindustries, representing approximately $13 trillion in revenue/public sectorbudgets and $277 billion in IT spending. For the purposes of the survey,respondents were categorized as top, typical and trailing performers indigitalization. 

The surveyresults show that 95 percent of CIOs expect their jobs to change or be remixeddue to digitalization. While world-class IT delivery management is a given, itwill take up less and less of the CIO's time. Respondents believe that the twobiggest transformations in the CIO role will be becoming a change leader,followed by assuming increased and broader responsibilities and capabilities.Inevitably, the job of CIO will extend beyond the traditional delivery roles toother areas of the business, such as innovation management and talentdevelopment. 

"TheCIO's role must grow and develop as digital business spreads, and disruptivetechnologies, including intelligent machines and advanced analytics, reach themasses," said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguishedanalyst at Gartner. "While delivery is still a part of the job, muchgreater emphasis is being placed on attaining a far broader set of businessobjectives." 

Respondto Trends

The surveyshowed that a majority of CIOs say that technology trends, specifically cybersecurity and artificial intelligence(AI), will significantly change howthey do their jobs in the near future. Cybersecurity continues to threaten theglobal landscape in 2018, and 95 percent of CIOs surveyed said they expectcybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organization. 

"Inresponse to these concerns, the survey found that digital security ranks high on the CIO agenda as 35percent of respondents said they have already invested and deployed some aspectof digital security, and 36 percent are in the process of planning to implementsome form of digital security," said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. "CIOs arealso increasingly adopting AI in their organizations. Predominantly, AI is being usedinitially, either to boost the customer experience or to fight fraud." 

CIOssurveyed rank AI, followed by digital security and the Internet of Things(IoT), as the most problematic technologies to implement. Survey respondentsagree that the most common pain point is the fact that these technologies,particularly AI, demand new skills, some of which can be hard to find. 

The surveyfound that growth is the No. 1 CIO priority for 2018, as reported by 26 percentof CIOs. The use of digitized products and services is expected to drive newforms of revenue, business value and engagement of customers and citizens. Thechallenge for CIOs is how to grow it to deliver economies of scope and scale. 

"CIOsare on the road from digital experimentation to digital scaling," said Mr.Rowsell-Jones. "However, a wall exists between those early digitalexperiments and pilots, and those that have achieved digital scale. Perhaps thebiggest brick in that wall is organizational culture. CIOs need to identify thecultural behaviors that currently exist and what the future state vision is. Indoing so, they must recognize existing cultural strengths and position culturalchange as 'the next chapter,' rather than a massive overhaul, to respectemployees' contributions and invite them to come along on the journey." 

Definethe role – focus attention beyond IT

At least 84percent of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the businessoutside traditional IT. The most common are innovation and transformation. When asked about theirsuccess criteria, top CIOs report they are already close to the ideal splitwhere more focus of their performance metrics is on business outcomes ratherthan IT delivery. Based on the top CIOs' responses, the ideal balance is 56percent of metrics related to business outcomes, such as revenue growth,business margins and influencing business strategy, and 44 percent related toIT delivery. 

The surveyfound that CIOs are spending more time on the business executive elements oftheir jobs compared with three years ago. In fact, CIOs from top performingorganizations are spending up to four days more on executive leadership. Themore mature an enterprise's digital business is, the more likely the CIO willreport to the CEO. 

In a changefrom previous surveys, respondents were asked to name the top differentiatingtechnologies (in previous years they were asked about investment levels). Business intelligence (BI) and analytics still retainthe top spot on the list, with top performers most likely to consider themstrategic.

 "Thisnew focus represents an opportunity for the CIO to become more deeply involvedin this differentiating technology," said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. "Dataand insight drive the creation, delivery and life cycle of digital products andservices. Flow of information in the context of user interactions leads tobetter engagement and value creation for all parties. Analytics connect the CIOand the IT organization to far-flung parts of the organization where they cancultivate new relationships." 

Implementthe new role

Seventy-ninepercent of CIOs report that digital business is making their IT organizationsmore "change-ready," which suggests that now is a good time toimplement change to the IT organizations, and, in turn, should make the transitionto the new job of the CIO easier.

 Thefirst part of the new job of the CIO is to build the required bench strength toscale the enterprise's digital business through support for the digitalecosystem. This means hiring new resources to put in place the right digitalteam structures. Some CIOs favor a separate digital team while others makedigitalization part of the day job of IT and the enterprise. However, 71percent of the top performers have a separate digital team to help them scaletheir digitalization efforts. The most common structure for these teams is toreport to the CIO, although the biggest difference between the top performersand their peers is in the CEO reporting relationship of these teams. 

"Theeffects of digitalization are profound. The impact on the job of CIO and on theIT organization itself should not be underestimated," said Mr.Rowsell-Jones. "In this new world, CIO success is not based on what theybuild, but the services that they integrate. The IT organization will move frommanufacturer to buyer, and the CIO will become an expert orchestrator ofservices. The real finding though is that this is happening now, today. CIOsmust start scaling their digital business and changing their own jobs with itnow." 

Gartnerclients can learn more in the report “The 2018 CIO Agenda: Mastering the New Job of the CIO.”

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