Gartner Research

The 2017 CIO Agenda: Seize the Digital Ecosystem Opportunity

Published: 14 October 2016

ID: G00317427

Analyst(s): Andy Rowsell-Jones , Tomas Nielsen , Jan-Martin Lowendahl , Chris Howard


As digitalization matures, more enterprises join digital ecosystems. This raises technology, organizational and leadership challenges for CIOs. Many will need to shift their enterprise from a linear-value-chain business to being part of a faster and more dynamic networked digital ecosystem.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Question
  • Opportunities And Challenges
  • How This Report Will Help


  • Acknowledgments

Executive Summary

  • Prepare to join the digital ecosystem
  • Get ready for the digital ecosystem surge
  • Focus technology planning on interoperability
  • Build organizational bench strength armed with an external mindset
  • Center leadership practices on mastering interdependence

Get ready for the digital ecosystem surge

  • Spending on digitalization is set to increase
  • Digital ecosystem participation is growing
  • Digital ecosystem membership delivers business value
  • Digital partners are becoming more numerous
  • Enterprise IT budgets show only modest growth
  • Adopt panoramic thinking to reach digital escape velocity

Focus technology planning on interoperability

  • Analytics are crucial to the digital ecosystem surge
  • Key digital technologies will be needed to achieve business outcomes
  • Digital ecosystems are driving more in-house development
  • Expect to engage more startups
  • Application age is not a barrier today, but may become one
  • Tool: Create your “digital ecosystem ready” technology action plan

Build organizational bench strength armed with an external mindset

  • Skill gaps persist
  • Analytics skills are universally in short supply
  • Bimodal IT deployment is on the rise
  • Expect engagement benefits and higher staff costs from bimodal
  • Tool: Create your “digital ecosystem ready” organizational action plan

Center leadership practices on mastering interdependence

  • Understand and mirror business priorities
  • Stakeholder involvement boosts support
  • Prioritize value over cost
  • To drive growth, shift IT investment from commodity IT to differentiating IT
  • Increase stakeholders’ satisfaction by concentrating on what’s important to them
  • Tool: Create your “digital ecosystem ready” leadership action plan
  • Conclusion

Appendix: Case Studies

  • ArcBest revamps IT processes to meet the digital challenge
  • CEPTETEB launches digital banking initiatives and a digital ecosystem
  • Children’s Health Queensland creates a digital ecosystem to optimize care
  • Danske Bank creates an innovative digital customer experience
  • Deakin University employs IBM’s Watson to lead its strategic academic initiative
  • Hitachi Consulting’s path to ecosystems draws on unique market strengths
  • NCC Industry transforms its business to become a leader in digital innovation

Further Reading

  • Related content
  • Gartner Executive Programs reports
  • Core research
  • Book
  • Articles
  • Websites

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