Enterprises realize on average only 43 percent of technology's business potential, according to a Gartner global survey of more than 2,000 chief information officers in 36 industries across 41 countries.
The research found that CIOs expect their 2013 budgets to be flat for a fifth straight year. Gartner predicts a 0.5 percent drop globally.
The research found that in the past 18 months, digital technologies, including mobile, analytics, big data, social, and cloud, have reached a tipping point with business executives. Analysts said there is no choice but to increase technology's potential in the enterprise, and this means evolving IT's strategies, priorities and plans beyond tending to the usual concerns.
Digital technologies dominate CIO technology priorities for 2013. The top 10 global technology priorities revealed by the survey reflect a greater emphasis on externally oriented digital technologies, as opposed to traditional IT/operationally oriented systems. These include:
- Analytics and business intelligence;
- Mobile technologies;
- Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS);
- Collaboration technologies (workflow);
- Legacy modernization;
- IT management;
- Security; and
- ERP applications.
CIOs see these technologies as significant disruptive forces during the next 10 years. When asked which digital technologies would be most disruptive, 70 percent said mobile technologies, 55 percent said big data/analytics, 54 percent said social media, and 51 percent said public cloud. Each of these can be disruptive on their own, but CIOs see their greatest disruptive power coming in combination, rather than in isolation, according to the research.
As needs and opportunities evolve, more CIOs are branching out into areas outside of traditional IT, assuming responsibility for finding new digital opportunities and harvesting value. Sixty-seven percent have significant leadership responsibilities outside of IT, with only 33 percent having no other responsibilities. This contrasts sharply with 2008, when almost half of CIOs had no responsibilities outside of IT. Almost a fifth of CIOs now act as their company's chief digital officer, leading digital commerce and channels.
"Digital technologies provide a platform to achieve results, but only if CIOs adopt new roles and behaviors to find digital value," said Mark McDonald, group vice president and Gartner Fellow, in a statement. "CIOs require a new agenda that incorporates hunting for new digital innovations and opportunities, and harvesting value from products, services, and operations."
Assuming these new roles will also help CIOs when it comes to securing additional funding, "Reacting to limited budgets by restructuring costs, outsourcing, and doing more with less made sense from 2002 to 2011, when the supply of innovative technologies was scarce," said Dave Aron, another vice president and Gartner fellow, in the statement. "Adapting to and leading in the digital world requires doing things differently, yet in ways consistent with the demands of digital technologies. CIOs need to make the case that mainstream emerging mobile, big data, social, and cloud technologies justify revisiting IT budget and investment levels."