Most CIOs in Australia and New Zealand received additional funding for digital innovation during the pandemic and two thirds expect it to increase next year. But overall budgets are flat for 2021.

That’s according to Gartner, which polled more than 1,800 CIOs around the world, including 111 in ANZ, for its annual CIO agenda survey. The results suggest organisations armed technology leaders with more resources for digital and more recognition during the pandemic.

However, overall budgets aren’t increasing for 2021 and local CIOs are less likely to report to the CEO than the global average.

Digital bump

According to the study, 54 per cent of ANZ CIOs reported a funding increase for digital innovation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and two-thirds expect it to increase in 2021.

Cybersecurity, business intelligence and analytics funding is also expected to increase next year, according to CIOs.

The funding could help accelerate ANZ organisations continued rise up the digital maturity curve which is now approaching the global average. 47 per cent of CIOs now report being at the “scaling” and “harvesting value” phases of digital transformation, up from 43 per cent last year and just behind the global average of 48 per cent.

The pandemic, and the subsequent rush to establish remote arrangements and digital channels, appears to have improved CIOs standing. 60 per cent of ANZ CIOS report a better relationship with CEOs, and even more said their engagement has increased.

But only 44 per cent of ANZ CIOs report to the CEO, compared to 51 per cent globally. 57 per cent of ANZ CIOs are a formal member of the executive leadership team in their organisation, compared to 65 per cent globally.

Gartner analysts say next year boards will be increasing the pressure on CIOs to accelerate digital initiatives. 

“Last year, I told CIOs that success in 2020 meant increasing the preparedness of both the IT organisation and the enterprise as a whole to withstand impending business disruption,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “This truth came at enterprises full force with the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, CIOs must build on the momentum they created for their enterprises and continue to be involved in higher-value, more strategic initiatives.”

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