Nearly all CIOs (95 per cent) expect to change, or “digitally remaster,” their current job as a result of digitalisation, reports Gartner.
The accelerating adoption of digitalisation and the quickening pace of technological innovation are changing the nature of the job a CIO is hired to do — from the old job of delivery executive to the new job of business executive, reports Gartner, as it releases the findings of its annual global CIO survey.
Leaders are rapidly scaling their digital businesses, making the remainder of this year and 2018 a defining moment for CIOs who don't want to be left behind, reports Gartner.
CIOs must start scaling their digital business and changing their own jobs with it now.
The analyst firm says the 2018 CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from a record number of 3,160 CIOs in 98 countries and all major industries, representing approximately US$13 trillion in revenue/public sector budgets and $277 billion in IT spending.
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.
"While delivery is still a part of the job, much greater emphasis is being placed on attaining a far broader set of business objectives,” says Gartner vice president Andrew Rowsell-Jones.
"The CIO's role must grow and develop as digital business spreads, and disruptive technologies, including intelligent machines and advanced analytics, reach the masses," says Rowsell-Jones, one of the authors of the report The 2018 CIO Agenda: Mastering the New Job of the CIO, which discussed implications of the survey results.
The report calls on the IT organisation and its leadership to prepare for a future where most services are orchestrated, not manufactured in-house. Finding the right people and skills remains difficult. The coming wave of digital technologies, especially AI, will increase pressure on IT skills and structure.
"The effects of digitalisation are profound. The impact on the job of CIO and on the IT organisation itself should not be underestimated," says Rowsell-Jones. "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.”
The survey, meanwhile, found that growth is the number one CIO priority for 2018, as reported by 26 per cent 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.
"CIOs are on the road from digital experimentation to digital scaling," says Rowsell-Jones. "However, a wall exists between those early digital experiments and pilots, and those that have achieved digital scale. Perhaps the biggest brick in that wall is organisational culture.
“CIOs need to identify the cultural behaviors that currently exist and what the future state vision is. In doing so, they must recognise existing cultural strengths and position cultural change as 'the next chapter,' rather than a massive overhaul, to respect employees' contributions and invite them to come along on the journey."
In a change from previous surveys, respondents were asked to name the top differentiating technologies (in previous years they were asked about investment levels). Business intelligence (BI) and analytics still retain the top spot on the list, with top performers most likely to consider them strategic.
"This new focus represents an opportunity for the CIO to become more deeply involved in this differentiating technology," says Rowsell-Jones.
"Data and insight drive the creation, delivery and lifecycle of digital products and services. Flow of information in the context of user interactions leads to better engagement and value creation for all parties. Analytics connect the CIO and the IT organisation to far-flung parts of the organisation where they can cultivate new relationships."
Attacks and compromise are inevitable
Security bandits ahead
Majority of CIOs in the survey say that technology trends, specifically cybersecurity and AI, will impact how they do their jobs.
Digital security ranks high on their agendas, with 35 per cent of respondents saying they have already invested in and deployed some aspect of digital security; 36 per cent are in the process of planning to implement some form of digital security.
“In their twisted way, many cybercriminals are digital pioneers — their exploits in ransomware, for example, show they are already operating at scale and can tap into advanced analytics capabilities to target large volumes of small victims,” says Gartner.
“These security bandits have learned the same big digital lessons as the enterprises they prey upon.”
Paul Proctor, Gartner vice president, says CIOs can’t protect their organisations from everything, so they need to create a sustainable set of controls that balances their need to protect their business with their need to run it.
“Taking a risk-based approach is imperative to set a target level of cybersecurity readiness. Raising budget alone does not create an improved risk posture,” he states.
“CIOs must prioritise security investments by business outcomes to ensure that the right amount of budget is being spent on the right things. Attacks and compromise are inevitable, and by 2020, 60 per cent of security budgets will be in support of detection and response capabilities.”
Follow Divina Paredes on Twitter: @divinap
Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz
Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.