The role of the CIO is proving a good indicator for the impact of digital.

According to a Gartner executive survey, leading CIOs have evolved from cost controlling delivery executives to become data exploiting, revenue generators capable of driving growth.

“The data clearly shows that while delivery is still a CIO responsibility, much greater importance is being placed on attaining a broader set of business objectives,” the authors said. Much of that change has come as a result of digital, according to the research.

“93 per cent of CIOs at top-performing organisations… lead adaptable and open-to-change IT organisations, thanks to the ongoing transformation to digital business.”

Leading CIOs have responded to digital by harnessing its potential to drive change, while laggards remain confused and anxious about their future, according to the report.

Source: Gartner

Digital is also being felt more broadly. CIOs said digital transformation only trails growth as their organisation’s top business objective in the coming years, according to the research.

The survey results are presented in the Gartner report, Mastering the New Business Executive Job of the CIO, which included surveying 3,160 CIOs across 98 countries, representing approximately $277 billion in IT spending.

CIOs rank growth and digital transformation as their organisation’s top objectives.
Source: Gartner

More changes to come

Most CIOs are bracing for more change – only one in 20 CIOs are not expecting digitisation to change their jobs, but few know exactly what to expect, according to the report.

“For the majority of CIOs, the biggest challenge of this change is that the details of this new job are unclear, leaving them without a blueprint to follow.”

The good news for CIOs is they should have bigger budgets to respond to their changing role. According to the survey, “The average expected change in IT budgets [is] up across the world between +2.0 per cent and +5.1 per cent depending on region.

CIOs also now spend an extra two days per month (versus three years ago) on executive leadership, suggesting organisations are realising the growing importance of digital leadership in the future.

There is still plenty to be done though. CIOs struggle to scale digital business and face the age old culture hurdle of digital transformation – a roadblock identified by nearly half of the CIOs surveyed as their biggest challenge.

“The message is loud and clear: To continue to effect digital transformation, CIOs will have to transform themselves,” the authors said.

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