How EMEA CIOs are taking the lead in digital initiatives: AI 'becoming mainstream'

Barcelona this week has not only been host to VMworld, but Gartner's latest Symposium/ITXpo - and according to the analyst firm's latest research, CIOs in EMEA feel more able to put their digital initiatives to the test.

The study polled more than 3,000 CIOs -  with almost 1,000 in EMEA representing almost $5 trillion in revenue or public sector budget. Success among EMEA CIOs in scaling digital endeavours is better than their counterparts in North America, Latin America and Asia/Pacific, Gartner said.

Almost half (47%) of those polled said their organisations had already changed business models or were in the process of doing so. Two in five of those who were undergoing a change of business model said they did so to better reflect customer demands, by making engagement easier and reducing the cost of engagement.

No major surprises so far. Neither were there any issues in terms of security. Cybersecurity was considered the top digital deployment technology in EMEA, with 86% having already deployed it or planning to do so in the coming 12 months. Security is evidently key to any scaling initiative; yet barriers include business culture blocking change - cited by 38% of respondents - and insufficient resources (44%).

Despite these lack of resources, emerging technologies are still on the radar. Artificial intelligencce is increasingly becoming key. According to EMEA respondents, voice interfaces - specifically chatbots - and process optimisation are among the top five technologies EMEA CIOs will deploy. AI "is now a technology that interfaces with customers and internal operations staff," according to distinguished analyst Andy Rowsell-Jones.

"In this shift, the role of the CIO is key," added Rowsell-Jones "This is confirmed by the results of the survey, which showed that 58% of CIO respondents in EMEA are taking a leading role or are heavily involved in the business model change."

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