CEOs plan increase IT investment: Gartner

2013 was most likely to see an uptick in IT investments from private corporations if the latest Gartner survey is anything to go by. This may put a spark back into the IT market following a decade of moderate activity.

The global IT consulting group, Gartner, said 2013 will be a turning point year as CEOs and senior executives, by a ratio of more than four to one, plan to increase IT investment. This will represent a marked turnaround from the cut in IT investment seen over the past few years.

The 2013 Gartner CEO and Senior Executive Survey found that, as macro uncertainties abate, 78 per cent of CEOs now feel able to plan their 2013 and 2014 investments and growth.

The survey results show that while major political and economic uncertainties obstructed business investment last year, the fog is now clearing, and digital will play a prominent role in CEOs’ 2013 plans.

“This is the year when business leadership teams must commit to investing bravely and deeply to redevelop the technology and information capability of their firms,” said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner fellow. “After more than a decade of modest investment and sorting out the basics, it’s time to think ahead. Business leaders tell us they recognise the need to invest in e-commerce, mobile, cloud, social and other major technology categories, and the capabilities they enable. That can’t be done from within existing IT budgets alone.”

Jorge Lopez, vice president at Gartner said “CEOs and leadership teams must crystallise what they mean by digital strategy and work with a small subgroup from the executive team to define what ‘digital’ means and how it manifests in the broader business strategy”. They must ensure all elements of the digital strategy link clearly to the core business strategy, and that they do not form an independent, possibly distracting, programme of change.”

The survey found that business leaders intend to change the mix of leadership talent needed to make that change — with chief data officers, chief digital officers and new heads of innovation on the way. The survey found that 19 per cent of business leaders expect to see a chief digital officer by 2014, and 17 per cent expect to see a chief data officer.

“CIOs should embrace growing digital, data and innovation needs, and not stand back from them,” said Lopez. “CIOs who intend to stay with their firms for longer than two years should be developing digital business, business information governance and innovation leadership capabilities in themselves and in their teams. CIOs who intend to retire or step back into other roles should help their organisations by incubating next-generation talent in the areas of digital media, information exploitation, and digitally enabled product and service innovation. This can be done inside as well as outside the IT department.”

“A number of organisations are already making new, very big bets in information and technology innovation that run to hundreds of millions of dollars of fresh investment,” Raskino continued. “The greater risk now is assuming that your lacklustre technology capability can remain a ‘back burner’ issue for another couple of years.”

The Gartner CEO and Senior Executive Survey of more than 390 senior business leaders in user organisations worldwide was conducted between October and December 2012. Qualified organisations were those with annual revenue of $250 million or more.

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