CIOs are “stuck in a rut” – Gartner

Chief information officers are "stuck in a rut", their strategic priorities failing to reflect the economic impact of digital technologies, a Gartner analyst said today.

This morning, the analyst company published its latest annual CIO survey, based on responses from over 2,000 IT executives from around the world. It found that CIOs' business and technology priorities for the coming year are largely unchanged from 2012.

The top four technology priorities were exactly as they were in 2012 – analytics and BI; mobile; cloud; and collaboration. Growth was once again the number one business priority, while reducing cost and growing customers also stayed in the top four.

"It feels like CIOs are stuck in a rut," Gartner analyst Dave Aron told Information Age today. "Everything is changing around them, but their priorities aren't changing – they are in a little bubble."

In a report discussing its survey, Gartner draws a distinction between two IT strategies – 'tending the IT garden' versus 'hunting and harvesting digital opportunities'. "Most CIOs seem to be tending their CRM and ERP systems, managing their IT costs," Aron said. "Meanwhile, this whole digital world is happening around them, plus lots of macro-economic and competitive changes."

Aron's remarks reflect apparent divergence of two cultures within business technology management. On one hand, there is the conventional world of IT management, which focuses on systems, efficiency and process. On the other, there is 'digital business' leadership, which concentrates on the impact of technology on an organisation's capabilities, market positioning and customer engagement.

There is no reason why CIOs cannot also be 'digital' leaders, but Aron says that their unchanging priorities suggest that they are generally not taking the initiative. He points to the fact that social media is not even in the top ten technology priorities as evidence that CIOs are not engaging with digital technology.

"Maybe CIOs are so busy delivering and improving what they've always delivered that maybe they've not got the time, budget or mindshare to pick their heads up," Aron says.

See also: Forrester – defining and driving tech value for CIOs

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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