Gartner CIO Survey shows digital business means platform business

CIOs expect digital revenue will grow from 17 per cent in 2015 to 38 per cent of total private sector revenue by 2020, according to a Gartner, Inc. survey of 1,075 CIOs in EMEA.

"As digital deepens, it's clear that hardcoded business and operating models won't suffice," said Dave Aron, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "What's changed is that there's a shift to platform thinking. Business executives need to look at their business as a hierarchy of processes, in terms of their business models, delivery mechanisms, talent and leadership (see Figure 1). Platform concepts need to penetrate all aspects of a business."

Mr Aron presented the survey findings for EMEA CIOs during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015 in Spain this week. These findings come from a worldwide survey that gathered data from 2,944 CIOs, who collectively control over $250 billion in IT budget, in 84 countries.

"The digital era requires flexible systems and structures that can swap resources in and out, and change partners based on shifting priorities," added Graham Waller, research vice president at Gartner. "Digital visionaries harness platforms to create value through connections and interactions, rather than ownership of individual resources. This creates semiporous boundaries between an organisation and the resources and components outside its domain."

As a digitally disruptive decade emerges, bimodal IT is becoming real and increasing digital performance. Bimodal IT captures the platform characteristic of continuously building and refactoring capabilities for the future. "Delaying bimodal IT is the worst thing a CIO can do," said Mr Aron.

In EMEA, 39 per cent of the surveyed CIOs are on the bimodal journey, and 27 per cent are planning to undertake it in the next three years. The survey showed that 13 per cent of CIOs do not plan to move toward bimodal IT, and that 21 per cent are unsure.

"Although bimodal IT is becoming a reality, we are finding that the bimodal tactics that are least adopted are those that have the most impactful on digital strategy performance, and vice versa," said Mr Aron. "The survey showed that only 7 per cent of EMEA CIOs who are on the bimodal journey are adopting crowdsourcing, which delivers the highest impact, while 79 per cent of them are developing multidisciplinary teams, which have less impact."

Mr Aron added that talent must also be treated as a platform. In EMEA, 17 per cent of the CIOs said that the difficulty of finding talent was one of the biggest issues standing in the way of achieving their objectives, and 59 per cent of CIOs said that there is a talent crisis. Seventeen per cent also said that money was an issue, which is strongly connected to it.

"The talent pool and talent management practices are not keeping up with the ever-increasing and changing needs of the digital world. It would be madness to think that continuing the same old human resource management practices will solve the problem," said Mr Aron.

Forty-three per cent of the CIOs in EMEA indicated that they are leading a digital transformation, and 33 per cent identified themselves as the innovation leaders in their organisations. In EMEA, 69 per cent of the CIOs have a strong partnership with their CEO.

"Not every business is ready to be a platform business, due to differing economic models, but the concept of platforms is important to all businesses — public or private sector, large or small, information-intensive or physical-asset-heavy," added Mr Aron.



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