Many CIOs moving beyond IT: Survey

Gartner's survey of 2,000 CIOs has found less emphasis on systems, more on digital business initiatives.

Gartner recently conducted a survey of 2,053 CIOs, asking what's going to be important over the coming year. If you look at the lists below--for technology and business priorities--there probably aren't too many surprises. Analytics/BI tops the list, followed by mobile, then cloud, and so on.

World Trade Center NYC Aug 2012 2 Photo by Joe McKendrick
(Credit: Joe McKendrick)

The piece of bad news is the economics. Gartner said that the average CIO IT budgets are down 0.5 percent from a year ago. However, everyone should be used to it--CIO IT budgets "have been flat to negative ever since the dot-com bust of 2002."

The three main anchors of service-oriented technologies--cloud, legacy modernization, and virtualization--make the list, at numbers 3, 5, and 8 respectively. Not the top of the list, but at least on the list. Of course, it can be argued that the business side isn't really tuned into service technologies--but business types are very excited about analytics and mobile. In fact, CIOs brand these technologies as "disruptive"--mobile (70 percent), analytics (55 percent), social media (54 percent), and public cloud (51 percent).

What's really new and different is evidence that CIOs are increasingly evolving into "chief digital officers" (CDOs). This is more than semantics; it suggests a shift away from overseeing systems and applications to overseeing their organization's efforts to build new channels and markets. (Well, actually, "CIO" might still be a better label, since the impetus is still harvesting value from information, not just being "digital.")

Nevertheless, almost a fifth of CIOs now act as their enterprise's CDO, leading digital commerce and channels. More CIOs "will find themselves leading in areas outside of traditional IT," Gartner predicted, especially since they are starting to oversee digital business initiatives. In fact, Gartner said that 77 percent of CIOs surveyed "have significant leadership responsibilities outside of IT." Compare this to 2008, when almost half of CIOs had no responsibilities outside of IT.

Ultimately, a CDO posture may attract far more corporate budget dollars than the traditional IT-centric CIO role, Gartner suggested. "Reacting to limited budgets by restructuring costs, outsourcing and doing more with less made sense from 2002 to 2011, when the supply of innovative technologies was scarce. Adapting to, and leading, in the digital world requires doing things differently, yet in ways consistent with the demands of digital technologies."Open the floodgates.

Top 10 CIO technology priorities:

  1. Analytics and business intelligence

  2. Mobile technologies

  3. Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS)

  4. Collaboration technologies (workflow)

  5. Legacy modernization

  6. IT management

  7. CRM

  8. Virtualization

  9. Security

  10. ERP Applications


Top CIO 10 business priorities:

  1. Increasing enterprise growth

  2. Delivering operational results

  3. Reducing enterprise costs

  4. Attracting and retaining new customers

  5. Improving IT applications and infrastructure

  6. Creating new products and services (innovation)

  7. Improving efficiency

  8. Attracting and retaining the workforce

  9. Implementing analytics and big data

  10. Expanding into new markets and geographies