Gartner Executive Programs

2013 CIO Agenda Findings

Hunting and Harvesting in a Digital World: The 2013 CIO Agenda
The CIO Agenda for 2013 involves adopting new approaches to hunting for innovations and opportunities that deliver digital value, while harvesting increased business performance from products, services and operations.

Armed with data from the Gartner survey of 2,053 CIOs from 36 industries and 41 countries, representing $230 billion in CIO IT budgets, co-authors of this year's CIO Agenda report Mark McDonald and Dave Aron demonstrate that CIOs can realize the full potential of digital technology only by transforming IT practices and tools. In addition, case studies on Access Bank (Nigeria), ADP (U.S.), Coca-Cola Europe (France), DeLaval (Sweden), Government Digital Service (U.K.), Houses of Parliament (U.K.), Multiquip (U.S.), Praxair (U.S.) and others show how CIOs willing to change their attitudes, behaviors and roles are becoming better hunters and harvesters of digital value.

With volatility, uncertainty, change and other challenges eroding business and IT capabilities, the stakes are high for both parties, and they have no choice but to address current realities. Though exceptions exist, the vast majority of IT organizations need to address fundamental gaps in their performance. Only in this way can IT meet digital business expectations and its own aspirations.

The tension between a focus on cost and increased demands for digital technologies creates three interlocking issues that CIOs must address over the next three years: strategy, funding and skills.

How technology will support growth and results is a fundamental question. It is no longer sufficient to tend the IT "garden" and declare success. Digital technologies provide a platform to achieve results, but only if CIOs adopt new roles and behaviors to hunt for digital value. CIOs require a new agenda for digital business and beyond — an agenda that secures IT's future strategic role, funding and skills.

Traditionally, the CIO role concentrated on tending to IT operations. However, the world has changed and IT must adapt by extending its role in the enterprise. Hunting and harvesting entail new attitudes and responsibilities for IT that reflect the realities of digital business.

CIOs, therefore, have three tasks today: Tend to the legacy, hunt for new digital business opportunities, and harvest value from business process changes and extended products/services. The figure below illustrates three performance profiles identified during analysis of responses to this year's CIO survey, and the role of IT in each.

In a world of change, it is concerning that a majority of CIOs, according to the survey, do not see IT's enterprise role changing over the next three years. IT rules regarding enablement, governance, alignment, organization, metrics, etc., created more than 20 years ago, addressed automating and integrating business operations for cost reductions and efficiency gains. Rather than follow old rules, IT needs to adopt new tools if it hopes to hunt for digital innovation and harvest raised business performance from products, services and operations. Without change, CIOs and IT consign themselves to tending a garden of legacy assets and responsibilities. Business as usual keeps IT as usual.

The CIO agenda outlines the challenges for 2013 and the actions required for success. CIOs foresee a finite set of tasks that defines what they "do new," undo, redo and choose not to do. These actions, and decisions not to act, reflect the need to establish a new financial, organizational and enterprise rationale for information technology. The recommendations in the figure below address the critical issues of expanding the roles of the CIO and IT in digital strategy, investing in digital IT, and building a digital organization. Use them to guide your 2013 CIO Agenda and future plans.