- As companies responded to the challenges of the pandemic, two-thirds of CIOs "assumed leadership of high-impact initiatives," according to a Gartner survey. The analyst firm conducted a managed panel survey of 58 CIOs in May.
- For 70% of CIOs, enabling companywide pivots to remote work was listed as their proudest accomplishment within the response to the pandemic.
- Post-COVID-19 strategy planning has begun at 43% of companies, while 38% of CIOs said their organizations continue to grapple with the effects of the pandemic, and plan to turn to recovery soon.
Inside the leadership suite at companies navigating the coronavirus crisis, CIOs helped steer urgent decisions together with other C-suite members.
In the process, CIO relationships with business leaders improved, Gartner data shows. Three-quarters of CIOs educated CEOs and other senior leaders during the crisis, and another two-thirds of CIOs gained insight into business operations in the process.
The pandemic accelerated a trend that gained momentum throughout the past decade. CIOs began to change the narrative around enterprise technology: going from cost center to operations-enabler.
In the pandemic, CIOs made sustaining operations possible, guiding organizational data and software strategies to enable efficiency in uncharted territory. But the clout CIOs gained within the C-suite "will fade quickly unless CIOs can extend it by helping the business deliver on other high-impact initiatives required during the recovery," said Andy Rowsell-Jones, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, in a press release.
To expand the IT organization's scope of influence, CIOs will have to "make a much larger degree of change in many areas," going beyond operational upgrades such as using cloud to speed up application deployment.
"A business-oriented IT strategy would likely involve the construction of a digital business technology platform — a long and complex undertaking," said Rowsell-Jones.