CIOs still acting as IT managers: Gartner

Although most CIOs want to drive business transformation, they are still spending time "keeping the lights on"

CIOs are focusing on digital technologies to drive business transformation but are still ‘stuck in a rut’ of managing day-to-day administrative IT activities, according to a new global CIO survey by research firm Gartner.

The survey found that of the 2053 CIOs surveyed, 303 which are in the Asia-Pacific region, about half do not see IT’s enterprise role changing over the next three years.

Gartner Australia analyst John Roberts said this is because a lot of CIOs are still acting as IT managers rather than business strategists. He said even though most CIOs are wanting to drive business transformation in their organisations, many are still placed in a traditional IT role.

“I think that there is a large number of CIOs where their IT organisations are still at a relatively low level of maturity and so they are still coping with doing the day-to-day things with keeping the lights on. Things like cloud, mobile and social they are seeing as things for the future rather than part of their IT strategies today,” he said.

With a need for CIOs to focus on business transformation, the survey shows digital technologies are CIOs’ top priorities for this year. The top three priorities in Asia-Pacific are business intelligence and analytics, mobile devices and applications and cloud.

According to the survey, 70 per cent of CIOs globally cited mobile technologies as the biggest driver of change over the next 10 years, followed by business intelligence and analytics at 55 per cent, social media at 54 per cent and public cloud at 51 per cent.

"Digital technologies provide a platform to achieve results, but only if CIOs adopt new roles and behaviours to find digital value," Mark McDonald, group vice president and Gartner Fellow, said in a statement.

"The world outside IT changed creating a quiet crisis for IT. Demands have increased in a world grown dynamic and digital. The harder CIOs work tended to current concerns, the less relevant IT became. CIOs know that the future rests in not repeating the past but in extending IT by hunting and harvesting in a digital world."

Karen Scott Davie, director at the CIO Executive Council and director of Digital Sydney at the University of Technology, Sydney, said being complacent with existing technologies means organisations risk falling behind.

"It is a greater risk to stand still and continue using existing technology and products. It is less risky for an organisation to be seen to be willing to challenge themselves and innovate even if they need to pivot the ideas and products during the innovation process," she said.

"CIO's could develop effective real time delivery models linked to data that enables the CEO to have the necessary information required to be able get the bigger picture of what's happening to their business.

"Some Australian organisations are building data visualisation models combining 3D imaging and gaming software with data analytics. The outcome is a multi dimensional data model giving management the a visual business tool they can understand."

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