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EGHAM, U.K. April 16, 2019

Gartner Survey Finds That DACH CIOs Focus on Digital Initiatives and Operational Excellence

Gartner Analysts to Discuss Strategies and Best Practices for Digital Business Transformation at the Gartner CIO & IT Executive Summit 2019, May 20-21, in Munich

Twenty-nine percent of CIOs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (the DACH region) regard digital initiatives as their top business priority, according to a global survey conducted by Gartner, Inc. They cite the drive for operational excellence as their second priority, a deviation from global results, where driving revenue and business growth comes second.

“Our survey results show that DACH CIOs take more ownership in digitizing operations and efficiency, instead of focusing on business growth and revenue,” said Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice president at Gartner. “This is due to the fact that CIOs in the DACH region often lack the resources to drive and enable true business transformation. DACH CIOs are involved in enabling the design of new business models — but do not lead these efforts.”

The 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from more than 3,000 CIO respondents in 89 countries and all major industries. In the DACH region, 118 CIO respondents were asked for their input.

IT budgets in the region increased on average by 2.7 percent in 2019 — 0.6 percent less than in EMEA. This partly explains the focus of DACH CIOs on core system improvements that modernize and upgrade existing platforms and infrastructure. Those measures decrease costs and improve the efficiency and scalability of digital initiatives.

Overall, resources are a major pain point for DACH CIOs. Fifty-one percent cite insufficient IT-business resources as their most significant barrier to achieving their objectives. Not far behind is a change-blocking business culture at 46 percent. Further, 35 percent of respondents state that insufficient depth and breadth of digital skills are slowing their digital transformation strategies.

DACH CIOs Embrace AI and Chatbots

Thirty-four percent of DACH CIOs regard artificial intelligence (AI) as a game-changing technology for their organizations, followed by data analytics (19%) and cloud (15%). When asked for their top use case for AI, 42 percent cited the use of chatbots as conversational agents.

“Our survey shows that DACH CIOs are actually more likely to invest in chatbots than global CIOs are, and there are already some interesting use cases in the region,” said Ms. Tratz-Ryan. “We often see chatbots in customer management, and some banks have already developed chatbots to handle other tasks such as small money transfers.”

Strengthening Digital Initiatives and Core Systems

Digital business is one of the core investment area for DACH CIOs. Forty-six percent plan to increase their investment in digital business initiatives. Core system improvements and transformations, such as legacy modernizations, are almost as important (40 percent).

“Digital business initiatives and core system improvements might seem like independent areas, but they belong together. Investing in digital transformation means that organizational silos need to become connected in a digital value chain and, for that to happen, the core systems need to become more agile and interactive. This is especially the case with the advanced operational technologies and the machines and sensors used in industry 4.0 scenarios,” Ms. Tratz-Ryan said. “DACH CIOs have understood that connection, and are investing their resources in the right places. Digitalization will lead to increased transparency of workflows, which will allow CIOs to identify duplications and inefficiencies. That, in turn, will increase operational efficiency.”

For Editors

The 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey was conducted online from April 17 through June 22, 2018 among Gartner Executive Program members and other CIOs. Qualified respondents are either the most senior IT leader (CIO) for their overall organization, or a part of their organization (for example, a business unit or region). The total sample was 3,102, with representation from all geographies and industry sectors (public and private).

About the Gartner CIO & IT Executive Summit

With two-thirds of CEOs and CFOs anticipating business models to change frequently due to digital transformation, how will senior leaders achieve success in an era of constant change? 

At the Gartner CIO & IT Executive Summit 2019, taking place May 20-21 in Munich, analysts will dive deep into ContinuousNext – an approach that helps build strategies and behaviors to make an organization become more dynamic and better able to adjust to perpetual innovation, integration and delivery. The event will provide senior IT leaders with practical guidance, best practices and insights on how to achieve success, no matter where they are on their digital business journey.

Find out more about the event at: Follow news and updates on Twitter and LinkedIn at #GartnerCIO. 

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission critical priorities. To learn more, visit