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Gartner survey shows CIO role to be fundamentally changing

04 Oct 2017

The role of the CIO is fundamentally changing as a result of digitisation and changing IT imperatives, according to the results of Gartner’s annual CIO survey.

The company’s global survey showed that the CIO role is transitioning from delivery executive to business executive, and from controlling cost and engineering processes to driving revenue and exploiting data.

The global research gathered data from a record number of 3,160 CIO respondents in 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% of CIOs expect their jobs to change or be remixed due to digitalisation, with respondents believing that the two biggest transformations in the CIO role will be becoming a change leader, followed by assuming increased and broader responsibilities and capabilities.

Gartner says that the job of CIO will extend beyond the traditional delivery roles to other areas of the business, such as innovation management and talent development, with IT delivery management taking up less and less of the CIO's time.

Andy Rowsell-Jones, Gartner vice president says, "The CIO's role must grow and develop as digital business spreads, and disruptive technologies, including intelligent machines and advanced analytics, reach the masses.

"While delivery is still a part of the job, much greater emphasis is being placed on attaining a far broader set of business objectives."

At least 84% of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT, with the most common being innovation and transformation.

When asked about their success criteria, top CIOs report they are already close to the ideal split where more focus of their performance metrics is on business outcomes rather than IT delivery.

Based on the top CIOs' responses, the ideal balance is 56% of metrics related to business outcomes, such as revenue growth, business margins and influencing business strategy, and 44% related to IT delivery.

The survey found that CIOs are spending more time on the business executive elements of their jobs compared with three years ago, with top performing organisations spending up to four days more on executive leadership.

It found that the more mature an enterprise's digital business is, the more likely the CIO will report to the CEO.

Rowsell-Jones adds "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 and CIOs must start scaling their digital business and changing their own jobs with it now."

The survey showed that a majority of CIOs believe that technology trends, specifically cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI), will significantly change how they do their jobs in the near future, with 95% of CIOs expecting cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organisation.

It found that company growth is the top priority for CIOs, as reported by 26% of respondents, with Gartner asserting that digitised products and services will be significant in driving new forms of revenue, business value and engagement of customers and citizens.

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