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CIOs Unprepared for 'Increasingly Digital World'

By Kimberly Koerth
January 16, 2014 - News

Digitalization, the third era of enterprise IT, is beginning, but most CIOs do not feel prepared for this new era, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner.

The survey shows that many CIOs feel overwhelmed by the prospect of building digital leadership while renovating the core of IT infrastructure and capabilities for the digital future. The survey found that more than half (51 percent) of CIOs are concerned that the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope and 42 percent don't feel that they have the talent needed to face this future.

"2014 must be a year of significant change if CIOs are to help their businesses and public sector agencies remain relevant in an increasingly digital world," said Dave Aron, vice president and Gartner fellow. "2014 will be a year of dual goals: responding to ongoing needs for efficiency and growth, but also shifting to exploit a fundamentally different digital paradigm. Ignoring either of these is not an option."

The worldwide survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2013 and included more than 2,300 CIOs, representing more than $300 billion in IT budgets in 77 countries.

During the first era of enterprise IT, the focus was on how IT could help do new and seemingly magical things — automating operations to create massive improvements in speed and scale and providing business leaders with management information they never had before. The last 10 years has represented the second era of enterprise IT, an era of industrialization of enterprise IT, making it more reliable, predictable, open and transparent. But while this second era has been necessary and powerful, tight budgets and little appetite for risk left scant room for innovation.

Entering the third era of enterprise IT, technological and societal trends such as the Nexus of Forces and the Internet of Things, are changing everything, Gartner says, not only improving what businesses do with technology to make themselves faster, cheaper and more scalable, but fundamentally changing businesses with information and technology, changing the basis of competition and in some cases, creating new industries.

The survey found that CIOs are planning for significant change in 2014 and beyond. A quarter have already made significant investments in public cloud, and the majority expect more than half of their company's business to be running over the public cloud by 2020.

Most businesses have established IT leadership, strategy and governance, but have a vacuum in digital leadership. To exploit new 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, Gartner said.

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