CIOs in Central Europe looking to make digital connection as rise of Industry 4.0 takes hold

One in three CIOs in Germany, Austria and Sweden (DACH) say digital initiatives are their top business priority, according to the latest note from analyst firm Gartner.

The study, which polled more than 3,000 CIO respondents across 89 countries, found an interesting correlation in central Europe. Of the 118 DACH CIOs, more than half (51%) said insufficient IT business resources were their most significant barrier to achieving their objectives. 46% grumbled that their business culture blocked change, while 35% said insufficient depth and breadth in digital skills were slowing their organisation down.

IT budgets in the DACH region had increased year on year by 2.7% on average, slightly less than in EMEA. Gartner notes that this partly explains the strategy of these CIOs focusing on core system improvements modernising and upgrading existing platforms and infrastructure, going on efficiency with one eye on costs.

Yet this doesn’t mean C-suites in the region aren’t attracted to certain technologies. More than a third (34%) said artificial intelligence was a ‘game-changing’ technology, while data analytics (19%) and cloud (15%) received a somewhat cooler reception. 42% of those polled said chatbots, particularly their usage as conversational agents, was the primary AI use case of interest.

“Our survey results show that DACH CIOs take more ownership in digitising operations and efficiency, instead of focusing on business growth and revenue,” said Bettina Tratz-Ryan, Gartner research vice president. “This is due to the fact that CIOs in the DACH region often lack the resources to drive and enable true business transformation. DACH CIOs are involved in enabling the design of new business models – but do not lead these efforts.”

Tratz-Ryan added that CIOs in the region had understood the connection between system improvements and digital business initiatives, particularly with the rise of Industry 4.0. “Digitalisation will lead to increased transparency of workflows, which will allow CIOs to identify duplications and inefficiencies,” she added. “That, in turn, will increase operational efficiency.”

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