“Even if demand for some products or services has risen as a result of the crisis, it’s often not the kind of growth that’s needed for stability, to reinvest or to give people raises. CEOs want to restore growth that delivers a good profit margin,” Raskino said.
CIOs can help their CEOs achieve their top priority in three ways.
No. 1: Accelerate smoothly
The Gartner CEO Survey found that the crisis has led 65% of CEOs to focus more on accelerating digital business transformation. However, they no longer aspire to be digital pioneers. Instead, they will focus on mainstream digital initiatives like e-commerce, e-service, digital payments and digital working.
“Scale up the digital mainstream, but don’t push experimental extremes,” said Raskino.
The CIO strategy must also exploit factors that can accelerate digital business, including greater customer acceptance of digital, the pool of available dislodged talent; and more amenable workforces that are flexible to change.
No. 2: Nurture people
Keeping, developing and retaining the workforce is a top priority for 58% of surveyed CEOs to enable a strong recovery. CIOs must introduce agile learning into their organizations and invest time and resources in allowing people to grow.
CIOs should also empathetically help executive team colleagues to deliver on CEO demands. That means supporting:
- The CFO by timing technology spend to aid cash flow
- The COO with technology to improve productivity
- The CHRO to develop a digitally savvy workforce
- The CMO to execute technology-driven marketing campaigns
No. 3: Rebuild better
Sixty-four percent of CEOs surveyed will use the pandemic as an opportunity to redesign the business. CIOs need to know which path their CEO is on — restore or redesign — and ensure the IT strategy supports the new vision.
“Reappraise which new technologies matter most as you plan a different future,” said Raskino.