Organisations realise on average only 43% of technology’s business potential, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner’s Executive Programs. That number has to grow for IT to remain relevant in an increasingly digital world.
The worldwide survey was conducted in the fourth quarter in 2012 and included 2 053 CIOs, representing more than $230-billion in CIO IT budgets and covering 36 industries in 41 countries.
The Gartner Executive Programs report, Hunting and Harvesting in a Digital World: The 2013 CIO Agenda, represents the world’s most comprehensive examination of business priorities and CIO strategies.
Over the last 18 months, digital technologies – including mobile, analytics, big data, social and cloud – have reached a tipping point with business executives.
Analysts say there is no choice but to increase technology’s potential in the organisation, and this means evolving IT’s strategies, priorities and plans beyond tending to the usual concerns as CIOs expect their 2013 IT budgets to be essentially flat for fifth straight year.
“Digital technologies provide a platform to achieve results, but only if CIOs adopt new roles and behaviours to find digital value,” says Mark McDonald, group VP and Gartner Fellow.
“CIOs require a new agenda that incorporates hunting for new digital innovations and opportunities, and harvesting value from products, services and operations.
“In a world of change, it is concerning that around half of CIOs surveyed do not see IT’s enterprise role changing over the next three years,” McDonald says.
“IT needs new tools if it hopes to hunt for technology-intensive innovation and harvest raised business performance from transformed IT infrastructure, operations and applications. Without change, CIOs and IT consign themselves to tending a garden of legacy assets and responsibilities.”
The survey showed that CIO IT budgets have been flat to negative ever since the dot-com bust of 2002. For 2013, CIO IT budgets are projected to be slightly down, with a weighted global average decline of 0,5%. EMEA is the only region to show slight growth of 0,4% in 2013.
“While most CIO IT budgets in Western Countries are expected to be flat or negative, German CIOs are the most pessimistic with an estimate of 2% decline in their IT budgets in 2013,” says Dave Aron, VP and Gartner Fellow.
Digital technologies dominate CIO technology priorities for 2013. The top 10 global technology priorities revealed by the survey reflect a greater emphasis on externally oriented digital technologies, as opposed to traditional IT/operationally oriented systems.
The top 10 business priorities are: increasing enterprise growth; delivering operational results; reducing enterprise costs; attracting and retaining new customers; improving IT applications and infrastructure; creating new products and services (innovation); improving efficiency; attracting and retaining the workforce; implementing analytics and big data; and expanding into new markets and geographies.
The top 10 technology priorities are: analytics and business intelligence; mobile technologies; cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS); collaboration technologies (workflow); legacy modernisation; IT management; CRM; virtualisation; security; and ERP applications.
CIOs see these technologies as disrupting business fundamentally over the next 10 years.
When asked which digital technologies would be most disruptive, 70% of CIOs cited mobile technologies, followed by big data/analytics at 55%, social media at 54% and public cloud at 51%. The disruptiveness of each of these technologies is real, but CIOs see their greatest disruptive power coming in combination, rather than in isolation.
“As CIOs continue to amplify the organisation with digital technologies while improving IT organisational structure, management and governance, 2013 promises to be a year of dual priorities,” says Aron.
“Key CIO strategies identified in the survey reflect the realities of these dual business priorities and confirm the need to expand IT’s ability to hunt for new opportunities and harvest current business value. While CIOs recognise that IT’s value contribution comes from delivering business solutions, they also recognise that the prioritisation and delivery of specific results must change.”
As needs and opportunities evolve, more CIOs will find themselves leading in areas outside of traditional IT. In addition to their tending role, they are starting to assume responsibility for hunting for digital opportunities and harvesting value. Sixty-seven percent of CIOs surveyed have significant leadership responsibilities outside of IT, with only 33% having no other such responsibilities. This situation contrasts sharply with 2008, when almost half of CIOs had no responsibilities outside of IT. Almost a fifth of CIOs now act as their enterprise’s chief digital officer (CDO), leading digital commerce and channels. Although this nascent role varies in scope and style, it normally includes championing the digital vision for the business – that is, ensuring that the business is evolving optimally in the new digital context.
“IT cannot expect to secure additional funding without assuming new responsibilities or producing new results,” Aron says. “Reacting to limited budgets by restructuring costs, outsourcing and doing more with less made sense from 2002 to 2011, when the supply of innovative technologies was scarce.
“Adapting to, and leading, in the digital world requires doing things differently, yet in ways consistent with the demands of digital technologies. CIOs need to make the case that mainstream emerging mobile, big data, social and cloud technologies justify revisiting IT budget and investment levels.”
“CIOs knew that doing the right thing required tending to IT by delivering cost-effective quality services. CIOs and IT leaders managed cost, complexity and risk to enable business operations in a world of managed stability,” adds McDonald
“However, the world outside IT changed creating a quiet crisis for IT. Demands have increased in a world grown dynamic and digital. The harder CIOs work tended to current concerns, the less relevant IT became. CIOs know that the future rests in not repeating the past but in extending IT by hunting and harvesting in a digital world.”