The role of the CIO is transitioning from delivery executive to business executive, from controlling cost and engineering processes, to driving revenue and exploiting data, according to Gartner.
The research firm’s global annual study, The 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey, gathered data from a record number of 3,160 CIOs across 98 countries and all major industries, representing approximately $13 trillion in revenue/public sector budgets, and $277 billion in IT spending.
The survey results show that 95 percent of CIOs expect their jobs to change or be remixed due to digitalisation. While world-class IT delivery management is a given, it will take up less and less of the CIO’s time. Respondents believe that the two biggest 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 to other areas of the business, such as innovation management and talent development.
“The CIO’s role must grow and develop as digital business spreads, and disruptive technologies, including intelligent machines and advanced analytics, reach the masses,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “While delivery is still a part of the job, much greater emphasis is being placed on attaining a far broader set of business objectives.”
The survey showed that a majority of CIOs say that technology trends, specifically cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI), will significantly change how they do their jobs in the near future. Cybersecurity continues to threaten the global landscape in 2018, and 95 percent of CIOs surveyed said they expect cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organisation.
“In response to these concerns, the survey found that digital security ranks high on the CIO agenda as 35 percent of respondents said they have already invested and deployed some aspect of digital security, and 36 percent are in the process of planning to implement some form of digital security,” said Rowsell-Jones. “CIOs are also increasingly adopting AI in their organisations. Predominantly, AI is being used initially, either to boost the customer experience or to fight fraud.”
CIOs surveyed rank AI, followed by digital security and the Internet of Things (IoT), as the most problematic technologies to implement. Survey respondents agree 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.
26 percent of those surveyed ranked business intelligence/analytics as the top technologies most likely to differentiate businesses from their competitors, with automation scoring the lowest with just 4 percent of CIOs seeing this as a major opportunity.
The survey found that growth is the No. 1 CIO priority for 2018, as reported by 26 percent of CIOs. The use of digitised products and services is expected to drive new forms of revenue, business value and engagement of customers and citizens. The challenge for CIOs is how to grow it to deliver economies of scope and scale.
“The effects of digitalisation are profound,” added Rowsell-Jones. “The impact on the job of CIO and on the IT organisation itself should not be underestimated. In this new world, CIO success is not based on what they build, but the services that they integrate. The IT organisation will move from manufacturer to buyer, and the CIO will become an expert orchestrator of services. The real finding though is that this is happening now, today. CIOs must start scaling their digital business and changing their own jobs with it now.”