Today’s CIO has ambitions well beyond IT delivery

45% 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.

CIOs digital delivery

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, 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.”

CIOs’ top investment priorities for 2024

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, 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, 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.

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

“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.”

A key to accelerating 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.

CIOs can empower business-led digital delivery teams through franchising

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.

“The ongoing democratization of digital delivery represents an effort to drive business innovation, speed to market and agility,” said Janelle Hill, VP Analyst, Gartner. “As CIOs are expected by their CEO to orchestrate a range of enterprise outcomes, CIOs must integrate and align the digital initiatives led by their CxO counterparts. CIO and CXO co-ownership of digital delivery is an indivisible part of enterprise – not just functional – outcome attainment.”

In a franchise design, CIOs and CxOs also share responsibility for technology governance. 47% of franchiser CIOs agree that the business should share responsibility for compliance and risk, compared with just 19% of operators.

“Franchisers who develop a co-governance mindset work alongside CxOs to manage cybersecurity and data privacy – two areas that have traditionally been part of the CIO’s oversight,” added Hill. “CxOs recognize that the CIO is primarily responsible for creating governance standards, yet they acknowledge they must share accountability for complying with those standards.”

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