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CIOs driving shift to co-ownership of digital leadership

Forty-five percent of CIOs are beginning to work with their CxO peers to bring IT and business area staff together to co-lead digital delivery on an enterprise-wide scale, according to Gartner, Inc.’s annual global survey of CIOs and technology executives.

“CIOs face a paradigm shift, sharing leadership responsibilities with CxOs to deliver digital success, while also contending with budgetary pressures and transformative technologies,” said Mandi Bishop, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “To successfully lead digital transformation initiatives, CIOs must co-own efforts with business leaders to place the design, delivery and management of digital capabilities with teams closest to the point where value is created.”

Gartner analysts presented the survey findings during Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo, taking place here through Thursday. The 2024 Gartner CIO and Technology Executive Survey gathered data from 2,457 CIO respondents in 84 countries and all major industries, representing approximately $12.5 trillion in revenue/public-sector budgets and $163 billion in IT spending.

CIOs Continue to Democratize Digital Delivery with GenAI
CIOs have already been laying the foundation for democratized digital delivery with technologies such as low-code platforms, which 64% of CIOs said they have deployed or plan to deploy in the next 24 months. Generative AI (GenAI), which 70% of CIOs say is a game-changing technology, will also rapidly advance the democratization of digital delivery beyond the IT function. While only 9% of CIOs have already deployed GenAI technologies, over half (55%) say they will deploy generative AI over the next 24 months.

The survey revealed that CIOs’ top areas of future investment in 2024 include cybersecurity, data analytics and cloud platforms (see Fig. 1).

According to the survey, CIOs and IT leaders cited exceling in customer or citizen experience, improving operating margins and generating revenue as the most critical outcomes from digital technology investments (see Fig. 2).

“Today’s CIO has ambitions well beyond IT delivery,” said Bishop. “In fact, 42% of CIOs reported that they want to grow within the current scope of their role and 43% hope to expand their scope with additional leadership responsibilities. CIOs must be at the top of their game in delivering business outcomes to reach the next level.”

CIOs Can Empower and Equip Business-Led Digital Delivery Teams Through Franchising
The survey uncovered three distinct CIO profiles that encompass how CIOs accelerate and scale digital delivery:

55% of CIOs polled embrace an operator mindset, where the CIO retains digital delivery responsibility and partners with CxOs as sponsors of business area digital initiatives.

33% of CIOs surveyed represent explorers. These CIOs have begun to involve CxOs’ and business area staff in digital delivery activities.

12% of CIOs Gartner categorizes as franchisers. These CIOs co-lead, co-deliver and co-govern digital initiatives with their CxO peers. Delivery responsibility is shared by IT and business staff working together in multidisciplinary fusion teams.

Franchiser CIOs are more likely than their operator and explorer counterparts to meet or exceed expectations for digital outcomes. Specifically, 63% of digital initiatives enterprise-wide meet or exceed outcome targets when CIOs adopt a franchise model. This is compared with 43% of digital initiatives that succeed when CIOs remain within a traditional operator model. Furthermore, franchisers also perform significantly better at general IT management activities, such as executive leadership development and digital business strategy. Gartner

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