Digital Technology: A Rising Priority for CEOs in 2017

Recently, there has been a major shift in the priorities of top level management of big companies with respect to organizational goals and objectives. What used to be sales, revenue, and profits as the ultimate aim is now growth, technology and product improvement. According to Gartner, as of 2016, 42 percent of CEOs had begun the digital transformation and are now adapting to the changing technological environment. This figure has gone up to 58% of CEOs in 2017, citing growth as their number one business priority.
Although the global political environment is in a state of unrest, it hasn’t shifted the CEOs attention from what they aim to achieve in the coming year or two, i.e. growth and profit utilizing technology. “IT-related priorities, cited by 31 percent of CEOs, have never been this high in the history of the CEO survey,” said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow, referring to the annual survey that Gartner conducts on Senior Business Executives, who share their thoughts and inputs on the future of their business. “Almost twice as many CEOs are intent on building up in-house technology and digital capabilities as those plan on outsourcing it (57 percent and 29 percent, respectively). We refer to this trend as the reinternalization of IT — bringing information technology capability back toward the core of the enterprise because of its renewed importance to competitive advantage. This is the building up of new-era technology skills and capabilities.”
A drastic organizational change requires time, effort and resources, making digital transformation a speculative idea for most CEOs. Yet, in 2017, this has become more of a reality and necessity in order to have a competitive advantage. “CEO understanding of the benefits of a digital business strategy is improving,” said Mr. Raskino. Twenty percent of CEOs are now adopting a “digital-first” approach to business change. “CIOs should help CEOs set the success criteria for digital business,” added Mr. Raskino. Many CEOs have recognized that being open-minded, entrepreneurial, adaptable and collaborative are the most-needed digital leadership mindsets. “It is time for CEOs to scale up their digital business ambition and let CIOs help them set and track incisive success metrics and KPIs, to better direct business transformation. CIOs should also help them toward more abstract thinking about the nature of digital business change and how to lead it,” concluded Mr. Raskino.

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