CIOs Must Transform into Digital Leaders

Suzanne Adnams
Suzanne Adnams
Bruce Robertson
Bruce Robertson

CIOs can champion the benefits of cloud computing and the potential uses of artificial intelligence, but here’s the question for becoming digital leaders: How good of a storyteller are you?

“CIOs also need to become better storytellers to become better persuaders. Businesspeople need to see the value and results in compelling ways, not just be told the many steps and the tech in too much detail. So leading the digital transformation journey is going to require a new set of culture change approaches, including those that focus on neuroscience and psychology insights. This is a new kind of people game.”

Bruce Robertson, along with fellow Gartner Research Vice President Suzanne Adnams, is the North America agenda co-chair for the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum, which includes stops in Phoenix, Arizona, and Hollywood, Florida. They say leadership is the keyword for CIOs and IT executives in this Digital Age, as they must move beyond directing just IT and be more vocal, impactful leaders across the enterprise. In this Gartner ThinkCast conversation, we explore the expanding and emerging digital role of the CIO and how the Gartner CIO Leadership Forum will help you in this career journey.


  • 01:16 — The CIO’s Role in Digital Transformation
  • 02:28 — The CIO’s Role Part 2
  • 04:57 — Avoiding Political Pitfalls
  • 08:03 — The Gartner CIO Leadership Forum 


Must-Have Skills for Today’s CIOs 


As a CIO, your job has expanded from a deliverer of IT services to an executive business partner. Digitalization puts you in the spotlight: your business now looks to you to scale your digital leadership.

  • How can you lead your enterprise to continue the digital journey and prepare for the opportunities of connected ecosystems?
  • Do you have the personal and professional skills you need to thrive at this new stage?

The 2018 Forum will provide you with inspirationstrategic ideas and tactical actions to address the challenges you’ll face in 2018 and beyond.


Suzanne Adnams is a Research Vice President with CIO Research on the Leadership, Culture and People team. Ms. Adnams provides research, insights, advice and support for IT executives related to developing leadership influence, working with teams and understanding group dynamics. This extends to increasing awareness of elements that shape culture and developing organizational change fitness. In her previous role with CIO Research, Ms. Adnams focused on strategic IT services and helping CIOs connect IT operational management to strategic business value. Prior to joining CIO Research, Ms. Adnams was an Executive Partner with Gartner Executive Programs. She worked with CIOs in Western Canada, providing executive-level advice, guidance, counsel, direction and assistance to support the CIO role and helping members use Gartner resources to succeed in their organizations. Ms. Adnams has been working in IT since 1980, and she had more than 20 years of experience in IT management and executive roles in government and higher education before becoming a Principal Consultant. In that role, she worked with clients on IT strategy and planning, best practices, organizational design and change management, with a focus on governance, IT service management and project management.


Bruce Robertson is a Research Vice President and Distinguished Analyst in Gartner’s CIO Research group, wherein his general research covers CIO perspectives on people, process and technology. More specifically, Mr. Robertson focuses on the innovative process and change leadership tactics and capabilities needed to lead digital business transformation and build a culture ready for anything. Furthermore, his emerging research agenda seeks to clarify how process and people are impacted by the new capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile and smart machines and how an increasingly agile IT must mesh with business practices including design thinking and lean startup. His expertise areas include process, change leadership, culture dynamics, metrics and business architecture, as well as how CIOs and digital leadership should leverage key emerging technologies from smart machines and IoT to enable business transformation. Mr. Robertson has more than 25 years of experience in end-user IT areas, including process, architecture and infrastructure planning and research functions. He joined Gartner in April 2005 with the acquisition of Meta Group. Before joining Meta Group in 1995, he was Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing magazine, a Technology Consulting Firm Director and an IT Manager.