The idea of shifting toward digital business across the organization was speculative for most C-level executives a few years ago. It has undeniably become a reality for many in 2018 as digital is a top priority across all industries, according to the Gartner 2018 CIO Agenda survey.
"Forty-seven percent of CEOs said they are being challenged by the board of directors to make progress in digital business, and this enterprisewide focus on digital is also being felt by CIOs across industries," said Jan-Martin Lowendahl, research vice president at Gartner during his session at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018 in Dubai.
Top business objective: Where is digital?
This year's survey garnered 3,160 CIO responses from 98 countries and covered 15 main industries. The results indicate that digital is at the top the CIO agenda across all industries.
As digital business takes hold, the impact on the job of the CIO and on the IT organization will be profound across all industries
Of the 11 of the 15 industries participating, CIOs ranked digital business/digital transformation among the top three business priorities for 2018. "This shows an increasing digital urgency across industries," says Lowendahl.
In particular, CIOs from the banking and investment services (26%), telecom (25%) and government (18%) sectors are placing digital business/digital transformation as their number one business objective in 2018.
Banking and retail lead new funding in digital marketing
In terms of prioritization of new funds for digitalization, investment in digitalization was placed in the top 3 for 8 of 15 industries in 2018.
However, only the banking and investment services and the retail sectors reported that they will allocate the largest amount of new funding to digitalization/digital marketing.
CIOs across most industries are struggling to move from experimentation to scaling their digital business initiatives
Those sectors have been among the first and most affected by digital disruptors such as the fintech startups, Amazon or Alibaba. To deliver market share growth, retailers must provide an exceptional customer experience based on what the customer values, and design a digital business transformation project that will help to deliver the appropriate customer experience.
Walmart's recent partnership with Google for ordering is also an example of digitalizing the customer experience through collaboration. "Today's retailers must understand, enable and enhance customer lifestyles," adds Lowendahl. "Customers expect flexible and consistent shopping between and across a retailer's channels."
Digital progress varies by industry
CIOs across most industries are struggling to move from experimentation to scaling their digital business initiatives. The survey revealed that a majority of CIO respondents are in the designing or delivering stages (54%) and, of those respondents, CIOs in the transportation (67%), retail (62%) and telecom (61%) sectors are taking lead positions in implementing the changes needed to become a digital business.
However, a minority (17%) have broken through the barrier and are either scaling (14%) or harvesting (3%).
"Looking at both stages combined, the media (33%) and telecom (29%) industries were in the top spots in terms of scaling the reach and impact of their digital business initiatives, letting them mature, and allowing the business to harvest the benefits they were creating," says Lowendahl.
The CIO will become an expert orchestrator of both internally and externally provided services
While some industries—such as banking and investment services and healthcare providers — are trailing behind the top two industry leaders, they still manage to capitalize on their digital business initiatives by efficiently scaling and harvesting them.
As digital business takes hold, the impact on the job of the CIO and on the IT organization will be profound across all industries. "In today's increasingly "digital ecosystem" economy, success is based on the speed of integration," says Lowendahl. "The CIO will become an expert orchestrator of both internally and externally provided services."
Benchmark your digital progress
The Gartner Digital Progress: Organizational Assessment Tool 2018 is now available for organizations that want to measure their digital progress against that of their industry peers. Comprised of 11 simple survey questions, the tool provides all those who complete it with an industry benchmarking report.