Digital initiatives drives CIOs advancing role

CIOs’ evolution to business strategist is tied to their success taking ownership of digital innovation and playing a leadership role in the transformational journey.

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With the technology underpinnings securely in place, CIOs are maturing into a new strategist role, helping to identify new revenue opportunities and operational innovations that will advance organizations to the next phase of digital business.  

According to the 2019 State of the CIO, which surveyed 683 IT leaders, 67 percent said they are spending more time on business strategist activities to help drive innovation and nurture go-to-market plans. While respondents still devote a higher percentage of their time to functional activities (85 percent) in addition to transformational efforts (88 percent), the strategist portion of the CIO agenda has blossomed this year, indicating a follow-on planning cycle for digital business and a growing reliance on IT leadership to chart the future course. In comparison, only 53 percent of IT executives responding to last year’s survey reported to spend time on activities associated with a business strategist.

state of cio executive summary IDG

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Driving business innovation

As the framework for digital business matures, a greater number of CIOs are channeling their energy to strategic endeavors, including driving business innovation (35 percent compared to 28 percent in 2018) as well as developing and refining business strategy (23 percent compared to 21 percent last year). IT leaders are now more actively involved in identifying opportunities for competitive differentiation (21 percent), crafting new go-tomarket strategies and technologies (19 percent), and studying up on market trends and customer requirements in order to identify new commercial opportunities (16 percent)

cio stat2 IDG

Looking ahead over the next three years, CIOs expect to not only retain, but to expand their newly established business strategist charter. Seventy-seven percent of respondents are planning to devote time to activities like driving business innovation (37 percent) and developing business strategy (30 percent), slightly higher than their expected participation in transformational work (74 percent) and well above the time they anticipate spending on functional activities (58 percent).

Drilling deeper, 30 percent of survey respondents expect to focus on implementing new systems and architecture over the next three years and 27 percent plan to redesign business processes while others will prioritize functional duties like security management (26 percent) and improving IT operations and systems performance (22 percent). CIOs’ evolution to business strategist is directly connected to their success taking ownership of digital innovation and playing a leadership role in steering the transformational journey.

CIO lead the transformation charge

The majority of CIO respondents (88 percent) agree that they are more involved in leading digital transformation efforts than any of their business counterparts — a sentiment shared nearly universally by functional (85 percent), transformational (89 percent), and strategic CIOs (89 percent). Their line of business (LOB) colleagues, however, were not exactly in sync— 47 percent agreed with that characterization of the CIO role. Nevertheless, only 10 percent of those interviewed strongly disagreed that the CIO played an out-sized leadership role in digital transformation.

With the technology underpinnings securely in place, CIOs are maturing into a new strategist role, helping to identify new revenue opportunities and operational innovations that will advance organizations to the next phase of digital business.  

According to the 2019 State of the CIO, which surveyed 683 IT leaders, 67 percent said they are spending more time on business strategist activities to help drive innovation and nurture go-to-market plans. While respondents still devote a higher percentage of their time to functional activities (85 percent) in addition to transformational efforts (88 percent), the strategist portion of the CIO agenda has blossomed this year, indicating a follow-on planning cycle for digital business and a growing reliance on IT leadership to chart the future course. In comparison, only 53 percent of IT executives responding to last year’s survey reported to spend time on activities associated with a business strategist.

state of cio executive summary IDG

Insider Pro subscribers: Log in to download this report. If you haven't subscribed yet, click here to learn more

Driving business innovation

As the framework for digital business matures, a greater number of CIOs are channeling their energy to strategic endeavors, including driving business innovation (35 percent compared to 28 percent in 2018) as well as developing and refining business strategy (23 percent compared to 21 percent last year). IT leaders are now more actively involved in identifying opportunities for competitive differentiation (21 percent), crafting new go-tomarket strategies and technologies (19 percent), and studying up on market trends and customer requirements in order to identify new commercial opportunities (16 percent)

cio stat2 IDG

Looking ahead over the next three years, CIOs expect to not only retain, but to expand their newly established business strategist charter. Seventy-seven percent of respondents are planning to devote time to activities like driving business innovation (37 percent) and developing business strategy (30 percent), slightly higher than their expected participation in transformational work (74 percent) and well above the time they anticipate spending on functional activities (58 percent).

Drilling deeper, 30 percent of survey respondents expect to focus on implementing new systems and architecture over the next three years and 27 percent plan to redesign business processes while others will prioritize functional duties like security management (26 percent) and improving IT operations and systems performance (22 percent). CIOs’ evolution to business strategist is directly connected to their success taking ownership of digital innovation and playing a leadership role in steering the transformational journey.

CIO lead the transformation charge

The majority of CIO respondents (88 percent) agree that they are more involved in leading digital transformation efforts than any of their business counterparts — a sentiment shared nearly universally by functional (85 percent), transformational (89 percent), and strategic CIOs (89 percent). Their line of business (LOB) colleagues, however, were not exactly in sync— 47 percent agreed with that characterization of the CIO role. Nevertheless, only 10 percent of those interviewed strongly disagreed that the CIO played an out-sized leadership role in digital transformation.

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CIOs Advance their Strategic Role