The changing role of CIOs during digital transformation

Gartner's PeterSonderg on CIOs
A Gartner survey has revealed that more than 3,000 CIOs have confirmed the changing role of chief information officers.

Gartner said digitalization and technological innovation are changing the nature of the job of the CIO.

Business leaders are 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.

The 2018 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey collected data from 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.

95 percent of CIOs expect their jobs to change or be remixed due to digitalization. The survey said IT delivery management will take up less and less of the CIO’s time.

The two biggest transformations in the CIO role will be becoming a change leader, followed by assuming increased and broader responsibilities and capabilities. The job of CIO will extend beyond the traditional delivery roles to other areas of the business, such as innovation management and talent development.
CIO priorities for 2018“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,” Andy Rowsell-Jones said.

A majority of CIOs say technology trends, specifically cybersecurity and artificial intelligence (AI), will significantly change how they do their jobs in the near future. 95 percent of CIOs surveyed said they expect cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organization.
CIOs and digital transformation35 percent of respondents have already invested and deployed some aspect of digital security. 36 percent are in the process of planning to implement some form of digital security.

CIOs are also increasingly adopting AI in their organizations. 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.
AI job creation26 percent of CIOs report growth as the No. 1 CIO priority for 2018. The use of digitized 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.

84 percent of top CIOs surveyed have responsibility for areas of the business outside traditional IT. The most common are 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.

CIOs are spending more time on the business executive elements of their jobs compared with three years ago. CIOs from top performing organizations are spending up to four days more on executive leadership. The more mature an enterprise’s digital business is, the more likely the CIO will report to the CEO.

Three situational roles for the CIO

There are three situational roles for the CIO that include: a partner CIO; a builder CIO; or a pioneer CIO.

The IT Partner CIO is expected to operate in a more transactional way, with a focus on managing services, core IT, value for money, while also preparing for digital.

The Digital Builder CIO is designing and enabling new products and services, and working with others across the enterprise.

The Digital Pioneer CIO is acting an entrepreneur, leveraging technologies to build new capabilities, new business models, and new revenue streams to achieve digital value and scale.

“That puts CIOs in the spotlight. You play a part in the digital transformation. But it does not mean the exact same thing to every CIO. To meet the digital challenge, you must understand both what will be expected of you, and what you truly aspire to be,” said Peter Sondergaard, executive vice president and global head of Research.

CIOs trying to lead digital transformation needed to succeed need a mix of three scale accelerators including digital dexterity, network effect technologies, and an industrialized digital platform, said Tina Nunno, vice president and Gartner Fellow.