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CIO issues differ across regions, but all face digital data threats and opportunities: Gartner

Divina Paredes | June 10, 2014
Lists three ways CIOs can 'tame the digital dragon'

Gartner's 2014 global CIO survey reveals issues faced by IT leaders are not universal, and differences exist at both regional and country levels.

But while economic conditions and budgets vary across countries, CIOs in both business and public sectors face digital opportunities and threats, reports the analyst firm.

"The CIO survey results clearly show that as digital opportunities and threats pervade every aspect of business and government, the IT and digital agenda for each country, industry and enterprise is becoming more unique," says Dave Aron, Gartner vice president.

"The way businesses and public-sector agencies use information and digital technologies is getting more entwined with their economic, regulatory and competitive contexts, as well as with the state of their business and digital maturity.

"This is a function of every aspect of every business becoming digital — every process, every employee, every business leader, every customer, every interaction, every moment. Just as our businesses are unique, our digital footprints are becoming all the more unique."

The survey was conducted among 2339 CIOs in the fourth quarter of 2013 and represented more than US$300 billion in CIO IT budgets in 77 countries.

Gartner did not release New Zealand specific content, but the segment on Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) finds businesses expect IT to support growth, and are increasing IT budgets accordingly.

APJ IT leaders reported increases in IT budgets exceeding the global average (0.9 per cent compared with 0.2 per cent globally). Although not a rapid increase, say Gartner analysts Andy Rowsell-Jones, Poh-Ling Lee and Linda Price, this growth allows IT leaders in the region to prepare the ground to "capture digital opportunities" this year.

The three list three priorities for APJ CIOs as they work to 'tame the digital dragon':

Renovate the core of IT :Top technology priorities for 2014 reveal two complementary goals: Renovating the core of IT, and exploiting new technologies and trends. "Exploiting the new speaks for itself. Meanwhile, the core of enterprise IT — infrastructure, applications (such as ERP), information and sourcing — was built for the IT past and needs to be renovated for the digital future."

Build bimodal capability: According to Gartner, there are inherent tensions between doing IT "right" and doing IT fast, doing IT safely and doing IT innovatively, and working the plan and adapting. To capture digital opportunities, CIOs need to deal with speed, innovation and uncertainty. This requires operating two modes of enterprise IT: conventional and nonlinear. Conventional refers to more traditional waterfall development projects, and nonlinear refers to more short-term, agile and lean start-up activities.

Develop digital leadership: Most businesses have established IT leadership, strategy and governance, but have a vacuum in digital leadership. To exploit digital opportunities and ensure that the core of IT services is ready, there must be clear digital leadership, strategy and governance, and all business executives must become digitally savvy.


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