CIOs must change culture and leadership to succeed in the digital age: Gartner

By Freya Purnell
CIOs must transform their culture in the next three years from the “traditional, risk-averse, control-oriented corporate and IT culture” or risk having even the most informed digital business strategy consumed “like a small snack”, according to Gartner vice president and executive partner Graham Waller.

Waller made the comments in relation to the release of Gartner’s 2015 CIO survey last week at its Symposium/ITxpo.

The survey, which canvassed the views of more than 2810 CIOs worldwide, representing more than US$397 billion in IT budgets in 84 countries, included responses from 161 ANZ CIOs, who collectively represented more than $8 billion in IT spending.

Gartner vice president and executive partner Graham Waller said many technology leaders face three persistent issues that impede digital opportunities.

“In order to grasp digital opportunities, CIOs need to flip from legacy first to digital first in terms of technology leadership, from what’s visible to what’s truly valuable in value leadership, and from control first to vision first in people leadership,” he said. “In short, to thrive in this digital era, CIOs must flip to digital leadership.”

Ninety-three per cent of Australian and New Zealand CIOs agree that that the digital world is creating new, different and higher levels of risk, and 66 per cent said that the discipline of risk management is not keeping up.

CIOs are also contending with IT budgets remaining flat, with budgets in Australia down -0.2 per cent in 2015 compared to 2014 levels. This is slightly lower than the 1 per cent growth from 2014 to 2015 expected globally, and the 3 per cent increase expected in Asia Pacific.

Australian and New Zealand CIOs estimate that 82 per cent of technology will be “inside” the IT budget (up from 74 per cent last year), but much digital innovation can and will be funded outside the planned IT spending.

In terms of technology priorities for CIOs in 2015, the top three priorities in Australia and New Zealand are BI/analytics, cloud and mobile technologies. This compares globally to BI/analytics, infrastructure and data centre, and cloud making up the top three.

In Australia, infrastructure and data centre, ERP, digitalisation/digital marketing,  CRM, networking, voice and data communications, legacy modernization and security make up the rest of the top 10.

According to Waller, while the average CIO spends more time running the IT shop, high-performing CIOs are spending less time on these day-to-day activities, and more on engaging their board and senior leadership.

Having a deputy ‘COO of IT’ type of role reduces the time a CIO spends running IT by 5 per cent, or around a day a month. Only 42 per cent of Australian and New Zealand CIOs have a deputy, compared to 47 per cent worldwide.

“Control first leadership does not suit the high-speed, innovative, uncertain nature of the digital world and can actually be an obstacle,” Waller said.

Leave a Reply