How the CIO role is expanding through digital business – and why the time is right for change now

The role of the CIO is changing as organisations’ technical roadmaps and priorities change with it. It’s something we are all more than aware of – and a new report from Gartner focuses on how CIOs in India are adapting to the challenge.

The figures, which come from the analyst firm’s 2018 CIO Agenda Survey, show that for CIOs in India, optimising enterprise operational excellence, tracking business value of IT, and business cost optimisation are their biggest priorities.

In terms of technology trends which will impact how CIOs do their jobs, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity are frequently cited. 94% of Indian CIOs surveyed said they expect cybersecurity threats to increase and impact their organisation. Almost three quarters (74%) said that in response to concerns surrounding cybersecurity they have deployed, or are in the planning stages, of deploying some aspect of digital security.

Four in five (79%) CIOs say digital business is making their IT organisations more ‘change-ready’. In other words, now is the time to make changes and implement the new CIO role. Among the raft of changes the CIO should expect, Gartner notes, is around scaling the enterprise’s digital business through its supporting ecosystem.

As the analyst firm puts it, ‘some CIOs favour a separate digital team while others make digitalisation part of the day job of IT and the enterprise. However, 71% of the top performers have a separate digital team to help them scale their digitalisation efforts. The most common structure for these teams is to report to the CIO, although the biggest difference between the top performers and their peers is in the CEO reporting relationship of these teams.’

A study from HCL Technologies earlier this month found that while 70% of organisations have a formalised digital strategy in place, only 10% had an official deployment plan. Speaking to this publication, Anand Birje, head of digital and analytics at HCL, mused on how the job roles of CIO and chief digital officer (CDO) have shifted, as well as how differing industries have similar digital priorities.

For CIOs in India, they need to wear many hats. 51% of those polled by Gartner say the CIO in their organisation is in charge of innovation, with 49% saying they head up digital transformation and 30% leading enterprise change.

“The CIO’s role must grow and develop as digital business spreads, and disruptive technologies, including intelligent machines and advanced analytics, reach the masses,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “While delivery is still a part of the job, far greater emphasis is being placed on attaining a much broader set of business objectives.”

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