A Gartner survey of nearly 2,000 chief information officers found that 2021 will be a race to digital innovation, with organizations seeking to keep up the momentum from COVID-19 responses.
The 2021 Gartner CIO Agenda survey found that the COVID-19 experience convinced many execs that remote work should continue, with just over half of survey respondents expecting working from home to increase this year.
“Nothing, yet everything, has changed for the CIO,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, distinguished research vice president at Gartner, in a statement accompanying the research.
“The support for remote work that the COVID-19 pandemic brought on might be the biggest win for CIOs since Y2K,” Rowsell-Jones added.
WHY IT MATTERS
Gartner surveyed 1,877 CIO respondents in 74 countries and all major industries.
Its findings reveal four ways in which CIOs can continue to make a difference in digital business acceleration and long-term agility:
- Win differently, by helping the enterprise anticipate increasingly digital interactions customers expect
- Unleash force multipliers: refocus IT leadership around digital business acceleration and remodel the enterprise’s core technology
- Banish drags and work to increase efficiency while giving supply chains more resilience
- Redirect resources, pushing investment toward new business priorities
With regard to this last item, survey respondents projected an average 2% IT budget increase for 2021.
Nearly two-thirds of top performers said funding for digital innovation has increased as a result of the pandemic.
“Organizations that have increased their funding of digital innovation are 2.7 times more likely to be a top performer than a trailing performer,” noted the report.
So-called trailing performers in the survey were those who had rated themselves poorly on digital maturity and relative business performance.
CIOs also reported boosts in cybersecurity investments – perhaps no surprise, given the ramped-up ransomware attacks around the world.
About 60% of respondents are increasing investment in cyber and information security, followed closely by business intelligence and data analytics (58%) and cloud services and solutions (53%).
“Although the COVID-19 response appeared to be a simple exercise of deploying PCs, it created profound opportunities for CIOs,” said Rowsell-Jones.
“CIOs were able to refocus IT leadership around digital business acceleration and remodel the enterprise’s core technology. At one point or another, every CIO got a chance to shine during COVID-19,” he continued.
THE LARGER TREND
When it comes to healthcare leadership specifically, CIOs have spoken about the importance of a sound digital foundation.
“When the pandemic hit, we were able to scale up our existing offerings to respond to the demand for digital care, rather than some forced pivot or buy some standalone third-party solutions,” Dr. Paul Testa, chief medical information officer at NYU Langone Health, told Healthcare IT News.
“Although there are many elements to be considered and addressed for information security, one place where the work begins is through ensuring that a robust business associate agreement is in place with particular vendors who offer telehealth systems and services,” said Fernando Cortez, CIO and information security officer at La Clínica de La Raza.
“This is important, especially because [protected health information] in transit and at rest must be appropriately secured.”
ON THE RECORD
“In 2021, CIOs must build on the momentum they created for their enterprises and continue to be involved in higher-value, more strategic initiatives,” said Gartner’s Rowsell-Jones. “The better CIOs perform for the business, the more the business will ask of them next year.”