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Only 12% of I&O leaders meet CIO expectations, says Gartner survey
Thu, 28th Dec 2023

Despite ongoing economic difficulties, only a mere 12% of infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders feel their performance exceeds the expectations of their Chief Information Officer (CIO), according to a recent survey by Gartner.

Cameron Haight, VP Analyst at Gartner, emphasised the essential role of I&O leaders in contributing proactively to their organisations' capacity to navigate economic uncertainty, stating, "their destinies are interlinked, as a failure by the business to execute the proper strategy will have repercussions across the organisation."

The survey, conducted between April and July 2023, collated responses from 122 I&O leaders from North America, EMEA and Asia/Pacific, whose enterprise growth was hindered by external threats in 2022 and 2023. The main threats identified by I&O leaders were cybersecurity risks, followed closely by supply chain disruptions, talent and skills shortages, and inflationary pressures.

These challenges were further compounded by budget constraints. In 2023, 41% of I&O leaders' budgets increased but merely matched the rate of inflation. Meanwhile, 37% of budgets were cut or, at best, remained the same, a decline in real terms due to inflation.

A small proportion, 27%, saw their budgets increase and grow beyond inflation. Haight warns that the observed lack of real funding growth could cause the deferral of projects into the following year, resulting in a “cascading appropriations challenge.” He suggests that I&O leaders "must work smarter to achieve business outcomes with fewer resources."

Aimed at combatting the forces of economic uncertainty, Gartner identified three key strategies that successful I&O organisations frequently employed, which were critical in helping companies navigate through turbulent economies.

These encompassed fostering an inclusive workplace environment that improves well-being, actioning steps that enhance I&O efficiency through improved analysis capabilities, and bolstering the I&O’s contribution to digital business activities.

Notably, 84% of leaders in highly-rated I&O teams emphasised the importance of an inclusive workplace, while 79% ensured the holistic wellness of employees. In facing economic uncertainty, 89% of leaders in effective I&O organisations championed process transformation and optimisation, while 82% identified opportunities to cut technology costs.

Perhaps most significantly, to bolster their contribution to the organisation's digital strategy, 92% of successful I&O leaders improved the coordination of digital investments across the business.

Furthermore, 84% used objective analysis to translate enterprise priorities into investments, and 79% established a common language for I&O stakeholders to coordinate digital investment decisions, thereby becoming a key partner in digital business activities.