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Gartner: Only third of ANZ CIOs report to CEO, need to step up

Gartner: Only third of ANZ CIOs report to CEO, need to step up

Far fewer than globally

Only one in three CIOs working in Australia and New Zealand report to their company’s CEO, a global survey by analyst firm Gartner has revealed.

This compares with 43 per cent of CIOs with a direct report to the chief executive officer within companies performing well globally.

A direct line to the company chief does correlate with business success, with 56 per cent of CIOs in ‘high-performing’ firms reporting to the CEO, the research found.

As a result of the low proportion of CIOs with CEOs directly above them, the IT function in ANZ businesses often fails to “influence business change and growth” Gartner said.

“ANZ CIOs have the chance to step up to become more influential business leaders, but most are not seizing that opportunity to drive change,” said Brian Ferreira, vice president executive programs at Gartner.

“Those that take the lead with their business peers can drive innovative thinking in business models, consumer experience and moving from a project to product focus in how technology is delivered,” he added.

Around a third of ANZ CIOs report to a chief operating officer, and 17 per cent to a chief financial officer.

Priorities

According to the survey of 3,102 CIO in 89 countries including 161 locally, a quarter of ANZ CIOs ranked ‘digital initiatives’ as their highest priority for the year.

Revenue/business growth ranked second (16 per cent of CIOs cited it as their top priority), ahead of customer experience and cost optimisation/reduction (tied for third at 10 per cent). Cost optimisation/reduction jumped from number 10 priority to third.

These ambitions come in the face of flat IT budget growth of 1.5 per cent in ANZ in 2019, which is increasing less than the projected 1.9 per cent inflation rate. This is compared with the 2.9 per cent growth that CIOs globally expect this year. Flat IT budgets locally will limit CIOs’ capacity to meet digital initiative aims, Gartner said.

“The risk during these uncertain times with limited budgets is to make short-term investment decisions, which can slow or even reverse digital business transformation progress,” Ferreira said.

“For those who stick to their plans and focus on the long-term vision, the returns will be there,” he added.

The top five areas CIOs in the region are planning to invest new or additional funding this year are: business intelligence and data analytics (54 per cent); cybersecurity and information security (40 per cent); core system improvements and transformation (34 per cent); cloud services or solutions (32 per cent); and customer/user experience (31 per cent).

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