Australian and New Zealand CIOs Have Greater Focus on Digitalization than Global Peers in 2017


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CIOs in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) place a higher priority on customer focus and digitalization than their global peers, with more investing in digital initiatives and fewer in core systems such as ERP, according to Gartner, Inc.'s annual CIO survey. The survey data shows that ANZ CIOs are intensifying their efforts to strengthen digital leadership, organization and technology capabilities this year. 

The 2017 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from 2,598 CIO respondents in 93 countries and all major industries, representing approximately US$9.4 trillion in revenue/public-sector budgets and US$292 billion in IT spending. Of the respondents, 173 were from ANZ. The survey data shows that 49% of ANZ CIOs are participating in digital ecosystems as platforms to exchange information and interact electronically with competitors, customers, regulators, stakeholders and other enterprises. 

"The implications of digital ecosystems for ANZ CIOs are profound," said Jenny Beresford, research director at Gartner. "Many will need to shift their enterprise from a linear value chain business, trading with well-known partners and adding value in steps, to being part of a faster and more dynamic networked digital ecosystem. While many are actively participating now, ANZ CIOs need to take a more assertive and ambitious outlook to avoid falling behind in 2018." 

According to the survey findings, ANZ CIOs expect lower IT budget growth in 2017 (2%) than last year (2.9%), which is also behind the 2017 global average of 2.2%. In Asia/Pacific, the average increase expected is 4.3%, skewed by CIOs in both China and India reporting over 10% average increases in their IT budgets this year. 

IT Spend on Digitalization 

CIOs globally are reporting that they expect to spend more on digitalization in 2017, with ANZ CIOs ahead of the overall average on investment and focus. ANZ CIOs exceed global peers in their expectation of digital spend from the IT budget this year, as well as in their projections for 2018. 

"One of the most significant digital investment challenges for ANZ CIOs is that digital programs require a multiyear budget approach," said Ms. Beresford. "They share frustration with their business executives in trying to accelerate digital investment while budgets are still adjusted on a quarterly or annual basis, lagging changes in revenue forecasts and the pace of digital demand." 

The survey reveals that ANZ CIOs are driving cost optimization opportunities and applying savings to digital reinvestment and/or reducing technical debt. 

Achieving Cost Optimization 

Gartner believes that ANZ CIOs are more successful than global CIOs at achieving IT cost optimization targets. On average, ANZ respondents who have a cost optimization target have achieved 78% of their goals. 

In terms of cost efficiencies, ANZ CIOs are very business-focused on average. They are more likely than global peers to prioritize using IT for business cost optimization over cutting the cost of day-to-day IT services. 

"The strong business focus of ANZ CIOs also shows in their strong performance on stakeholder satisfaction with IT services, where ANZ CIOs are slightly above average on a global scale," Ms. Beresford said. 

Overcoming Talent Gaps 

ANZ CIOs cite a lack of skills and resources as their biggest barrier to achieving their objectives as a CIO. They identified the biggest talent gaps as information, analytics, and data scientist and business intelligence skills, along with their global peers. However, in ANZ the next biggest gap is digital business/digital marketing skills, while CIOs globally cited security. 

"In some cases, ANZ CIOs who are well-connected with their peers and competitors in similar industries are exploring ways of overcoming talent gaps by talent sharing," said Ms. Beresford. "Some business and technology leaders are also exploring ways to cross-expose business and technology staff for extended exposure." 

Technology Priorities for 2017 

The top areas of new technology investments clearly show that significant spending and opportunity continues in big data and analytics, and that cloud continues to have significant momentum. Digital investment is more popular among ANZ CIOs (28%) than global peers (16%). Proportionally fewer ANZ CIOs are reporting core or ERP systems to be a top technology area than their global peers.

About Gartner 

Gartner, Inc. is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior information technology (IT) leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to supply chain professionals, digital marketing professionals and technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in more than 11,000 distinct enterprises. Gartner works with clients to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual roles. Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has almost 9,000 associates, including 1,900 research analysts and consultants, operating in more than 90 countries.

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