CIOs must tackle next Covid-19 challenges, says Gartner

According to Gartner research, 43% of CIOs said that planning for their company’s post-Covid-19 strategy has begun, while 38% plan to establish one soon, but many have only made changes in response to the immediate crisis, and have not prepared for the post-pandemic process.

The pandemic, according to the study, did not usher in major IT transformations, and may have delayed changes that were already underway. In addition, while many companies had begun moving to a more product-centric delivery model, these plans were replaced with more immediate methods.

The survey showed that while CIOs, overall, know what changes they have needed to make to operations in order to survive, they may not know how far to take these changes.

“CIOs, in many organisations, were instrumental in dealing with the initial impact of Covid-19,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, distinguished research vice-president at Gartner. “Enterprises continue to operate with a heavy lift from IT organisations, especially in enabling a newly dispersed workforce to work from home.

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“Consequently, many CIOs have a new opportunity to take a seat at the table when senior leaders decide enterprise strategy and which lines of business to ramp up and which ones to reduce.”

The research, on a more optimistic note, also found relationships between CIOs and business leaders to be showing improvement, with benefits flowing both ways, and almost 75% of respondents stating that they educated CEOs and other senior leaders during the crisis, while two-thirds of CIOs said they gained knowledge of business operations.

“The improved engagement with the CEO stems from business capabilities delivered by IT during the initial Covid-19 response,” continued Rowsell-Jones. “For example, 67% of CIOs said they ‘assumed leadership of high-impact initiatives’ during the response. That likely refers to supporting working from home for employees, as 70% of CIOs listed support for working from home as their proudest accomplishment in the pandemic response.

“However, this goodwill with the CEO will fade quickly unless CIOs can extend it by helping the business deliver on other high-impact initiatives required during the recovery.”

This study from Gartner, conducted by a CIO Research Circle, surveyed 58 CIOs in May 2020.

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