The CIO, the future conductor of a unified digital strategy (Gartner)

At its Barcelona IT Symposium, Gartner unveiled the results of a survey of 2,203 CIOs from 81 countries. As every year, it is a question of analyzing their priorities and their investments in 2023.

In total, the firm predicts that these CIOs will spend $322 billion on IT in 2023. The 780 CIOs from 51 countries located in EMEA will spend $78 billion. In 2023, these CIOs in the EMEA region predict that their IT budget will increase by 4.4% on average.

This is less important than inflation which is expected to reach 6.5% in EMEA and North America in the same year. “This means CIOs will have fewer funds available next year,” said Daniel Sanchez-Peira, vice president and analyst at Gartner.

Inflation stronger than the increase in IT budgets in EMEA

According to the CIOs surveyed in the EMEA zone, these funds will be mainly spent on cybersecurity solutions (70%), analytical and BI projects (53%), cloud platforms (48%). Artificial intelligence projects (34%) and of hyperautomation (24%) will be less of a priority for these CIOs.

Inflation around the world
Inflation is higher than IT budgets in EMEA.

Overall, the three main IT priorities for companies change little in two years. In 2020, 61% of respondents expected their company to invest primarily in cybersecurity (compared to 66% in 2022), 58% in analytics (55% this year), and 53% (50% in 2022) in cloud platforms .

This year, integration tools and APIs are on the fourth step of the podium: 46% of CIOs plan to increase their spending on these middlewares. By contrast, in 2023, 47% of CIOs expect spending on on-premises infrastructure to decline, while 17% plan to increase it.

Similarly, efforts in the Digital Workplace are no longer as high a priority as they were at the start of the pandemic: 8% of respondents anticipate cutting costs in this area and around 24% plan to increase them.

About 13% of CIOs plan to lower their investment in ERPcompared to 30% in 2020. At the same time, 27% of respondents are ready to increase their spending on these systems. The RISE with SAP effectthe cloud migration program offered by the German publisher, could justify this increase.

Despite these fluctuations, the pressure on the shoulders of CIOs continues unabated. CEOs and management committees expect IT teams and their partners to deliver the projects that underpin their transformation or hope to reap the rewards of digital services already deployed. Benefits that are slow to be felt, say the CEOs to Gartner.

According to respondents, the top two priorities for their leadership over the past two years were to improve operational excellence (53%) and the customer and citizen experience (44%).

On the other hand, only 29% of CIOs mention the increase in turnover and 22% the optimization of costs as priorities. Gartner recommends focusing on these two objectives. Achieving this requires CIOs to review their investment priorities and how they engage with executives. However, around 94% of organizations would have difficulty setting up a single vision to support their digital transformation.

DSI expenses
The expenses of CIOs have changed little in two years.

To explain this phenomenon, Daniel Sanchez-Peira evokes the fact that the various executives (CEO, CFO, CMO, board members, etc.) launch their own digital strategies on their side without prioritization, without unification. CIOs find themselves in the middle of this “race” and can suffer the consequences.

“What is the impact in your perimeters? How many scattered databases do your team members deploy for each of these scattered initiatives? How many heterogeneous applications do they develop? How many points of failure? How many operational inefficiencies are added to that when one of these points of failure is exploited? Who will be blamed for this? You ! exclaims Daniel Sanchez-Peira to CIOs during a conference.

Implement a unified digital strategy

In order to improve this situation, the analyst firm suggests the CIO to change the label on their forehead.

“A lot of CIOs have a tag on their forehead that says, ‘I’m a service provider. Ask and you will get. And if something goes wrong, it’s my fault,” says Daniel Sanchez-Peira.

“Replace that label with one that says, ‘I am a responsible technology executive and yes, I will provide you with the dividends you expect from me. […] But I will do so by reconciling these scattered initiatives through a unified framework, built on common business objectives.

To do this, the firm recommends that CIOs focus on identifying the most promising initiatives and partners.

It is a question of identifying the subjects most often mentioned, the “indicators” of urgency, it is advisable to increase the tolerance with the risks and to determine tangible financial objectives. These signals must be correlated with the expected impacts: is this a way to stand out from the competition? Can the expected value be obtained quickly?

Other signals should make it possible to identify the most relevant partners for CIOs. These potential allies put digital initiatives first, are looking for a form of growth, favor results, bet on the activity of the company rather than cost reduction or even invest time in this association.

Then it would be about agreeing common business and business goals across the organization. This is, for example, to increase sales by a certain percentage. To do this, each entity must establish metrics to measure the progress of the company with regard to its objectives. The analyst firm remains deliberately vague as to the nature of these indicators. For the moment. Gartner hopes to adapt the Outcome-Driven Metrics (ODM), devised by expert cybersecurity analysts, to other sectors.

“CIOs have been the saviors during the pandemic, but some of them are losing influence.”

Daniel Sanchez-PeiraVP, Analyst, Gartner

For CIOs, it’s about re-proving their worth. According to Daniel Sanchez-Peira, “CIOs have been the saviors during the pandemic, but some of them are losing their influence”. Those who have gained weight with the COMEX would have understood that it is necessary to rely on both IT expertise, that which has enabled ” to keep the light on at the start of the pandemic, and IT at the service of growth, of professions.

It is necessary to find those who will make it possible to deploy these IT projects supposed to promote the “sustainable” growth of organizations. In EMEA a little more than elsewhere, Gartner observes that there is an “over-dependence” on IT teams. Only 32% of CIOs in this area say that the business lines participate in the execution of “agile and digital” projects.

“Fusion teams”, Business Technologist, atypical profiles: Gartner’s tips for overcoming the talent shortage

To strengthen “the democratization of the delivery of digital projects”, the firm recommends forming “fusion teams”, multidisciplinary teams that bring together business and IT roles. These merged teams each develop a product or project. According to Gartner, they should be organized to achieve a result, not according to roles. Thus, the Product Owner (or project manager) must have “business” skills, like domain experts.

At the same time, it is necessary to accept the integration of a new role in the deployment system: the Business Technologist. The Business Technologist is a collaborator outside the perimeter of the DSI who “produces” technology for business entities, but who does not necessarily have experience in IT or a particular training. This can be a “citizen developer” (replaced by the “maker” in the eyes of publishers of low-code/no-code solutions), a data analyst or even a citizen data scientist, illustrates the VP at Gartner. The Business Technologist uses “lightweight” tools such as lcnc platforms or some BI suites.

In this sense, certain tasks and certain projects can be delegated to the business teams, believes the firm. Problem, CIOs also feel like the “guardians of the fortress”. Initiatives from the business lines are often perceived as Shadow ITas confirmed by the reaction of the room.

Daniel Sanchez-Peira is categorical: this conservative position is not in line with a unified strategy. “Don’t think about IT governance anymore, but about corporate governance”, he insists.

Gartner and atypical profiles.
Gartner encourages the recruitment of atypical profiles, which CIOs do too little today.

In addition to rising costs, CIOs have to deal with increasingly rare and expensive talents. Here again, Gartner believes that in addition to “unconventional” practices, we must focus on recruiting atypical profiles.

These profiles do not come from recruitment firms, consultancies, integrators or publishers. They are young, under thirty, digital jack-of-all-trades and probably do not have a long experience of IT. And yet, students, the self-employed, employees of start-ups, members of NGOs or associations are all sources of talent “too little exploited by companies”.

“You will have to rely on untested talents. But you have to remember that you have permission to do this because your CEO is asking you to find solutions,” the analyst concludes.

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The CIO, the future conductor of a unified digital strategy (Gartner)

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