Pressed to grow their companies, more than eight in 10 CEOs want to either maintain or increase their company's pace of digital change, according to recent data from Gartner based on a survey of 410 CEOs and other senior business leaders during the last semester of 2021.
Nearly nine in 10 CEOs plan to increase investment into digital capabilities — the top category for higher spend. Almost eight in 10 executives plan to increase IT spending.
Workforce has ascended to a top business priority for executives, third behind growth and tech-related concerns.
The business landscape has changed considerably since the end of 2021. The steady drumbeat of inflation is raising business costs, an ongoing war in Ukraine is shaking global markets, and a host of lingering supply chain issues created a disjointed flow of goods.
Most recently, a backslide in key financial indicators has businesses tracking the market closely.
Yet plans for digital change, for now, are staying the course, said Mark Raskino, distinguished research VP at Gartner.
"At the moment, I think it's pretty clear that [executive's] intent to carry on with digitalizing their corporations has not been dislodged," said Raskino.
The script may change if the financial downturn continues and leads to a recessionary market, and executives reassess their investment priorities. But in that case, Raskino said, executives would assess what digital plans to delay rather than "fundamentally shift their thinking away from digital."
Headwinds aren't always monetary, but talent-driven. An EY report released in April found one in five executives dealt with a shortage of analytics and IT talent, a barrier to executing their data-centric plans.
As CEOs steer companies through the shifting business landscape, the role of the CIO will continue to move closer to that of a business advisor, Raskino said. CEOs want CIOs to play the role of leaders who "can proactively set the agenda for how we use technology and what are the mechanisms through which we apply the power of technology to achieve our aims."
The shift of CIO toward the business will mean business metrics will be added to their performance reviews, according to Forrester predictions. One in 10 CIOs will have their performance measured by looking at the performance of specific revenue streams by the end of the year, according to the firm's projections.