CEOs drive digital change forward

Diving brief:

  • Pressed to grow their business, more than eight in 10 CEOs want to either maintain or increase the pace of their company’s digital change, according to recent data from Gartner based on a survey of 410 CEOs and other senior business leaders over the past of the last semester of 2021.

  • Nearly nine in 10 CEOs plan to increase their investments in digital capabilities, the top category for the highest spend. Nearly eight in 10 executives plan to increase their IT spending.

  • Labor has emerged as a top business priority for executives, third behind growth and technology concerns.

Overview of the dive

The business landscape has changed dramatically since the end of 2021. The steady pace of inflation is driving up business costs, an ongoing war in Ukraine is rocking global markets, and a host of lingering supply chain issues have created a disjointed flow of goods.

More recently, a pullback in key financial indicators has led companies to watch the market closely.

Still, plans for digital change, for now, are staying the course, said Mark Raskino, senior research vice president at Gartner.

“At the moment, I think it’s pretty clear that [executive’s] the intention to continue digitizing their businesses has not been dislodged,” Raskino said.

The scenario may change if the financial slowdown continues and leads to a market in recession, and if leaders reassess their investment priorities. But in this case, Raskino said, leaders would assess what digital plans to delay rather than “fundamentally take their thinking away from digital.”

Headwinds aren’t always monetary, but talent-driven. An EY report released in April found that one in five executives faced a shortage of analytics and IT talent, a barrier to executing their data-centric plans.

As CEOs lead companies through a changing business landscape, the CIO’s role will continue to move closer to that of a business advisor, Raskino said. CEOs want CIOs to play the role of leaders who “can proactively set the agenda for how we use technology and what are the mechanisms by which we apply the power of technology to achieve our goals.”

Moving the CIO to the enterprise means business metrics will be added to their performance reviews, according to Forrester forecasts. One in 10 CIOs will have their performance measured by looking at the performance of specific revenue streams by the end of the year, according to company projections.

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