Gartner: CIO the Culture Change Agent to Augment Digital Dexterity in the Workplace


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As society and business increasingly consume and produce digital goods and services, a digitally dexterous workforce is essential to foster agility, collaboration and the adoption of new digital technologies. Gartner, Inc. says the CIO must be the culture change agent to enhance digital dexterity as a competency that applies to individuals, teams and the organization as a whole.

“The digital component of most jobs is increasing. Technical skills are important, but are not enough to steer a successful digital business transformation,” said Helen Poitevin, research vice president at Gartner. “Business and IT leaders need to employ the right talent with a specific set of mindsets, beliefs and behaviors — which we call digital dexterity — to launch, finish and capitalize on digital initiatives.”

During Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo, which is taking place in Cape Town through Wednesday, Gartner analysts explained how organizations can create a digital dexterity program to lead successful digital business initiatives.

The payoff from digital dexterity can be significant. Employees with high levels of digital dexterity are more than three times more likely to gain value from digital initiatives than those with moderate digital dexterity. “They are quicker to launch, finish and obtain the outcomes they seek from digital initiatives,” said Poitevin.

In 2019, 29% of CIOs in EMEA viewed digital business as a top priority, so improving digital dexterity throughout the organization is crucial. To help their employees to develop digital dexterity traits, business leaders need to build them up by enabling enterprise agility and developing digital competencies. Above all, business leaders need to make digital dexterity a C-suite priority.   

The CIO Is the Culture Change Leader Partnering With Chief HR Officers

“Mindsets and practices shape culture, and technology acts as an amplifier of that culture. Technology by itself seldomly changes an organization’s culture,” said Daniel Sanchez Reina, senior research director at Gartner. Technology is often the backbone of how work gets done and reinforces the company culture, which is why culture change is becoming an increasing responsibility of IT.

“Increasingly, it’s the responsibility of the CIO to operationalize the enterprise culture and the prevalence of digital dexterity in the workplace,” added Sanchez Reina. “The CIO will play a key role in supporting desired behaviors and changing the processes, procedures, policies and management practices that shape how work gets done to encourage desired behaviors.”

The CIO is the culture change leader and the chief HR officer (CHRO) is a key partner to the CIO in shifting the mindset of their own IT team members from “this is the way we have always done things” to “how can we do things better?”

“This will only happen by applying a framework of culture change, which includes increasing the digital dexterity of the entire organization,” Sanchez Reina said.

Gartner introduced the PRISM (purpose; rituals; identity; support and merit) framework to enable organizations to change cultural traits that prevented a culture change (e.g. silo-minded organizations or risk-averse teams). “PRISM works because it allows organizations to raise employee’s awareness on the need for change. That is the one and only key to success,” concluded Sanchez Reina.

About Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo

Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo is the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives, uniting a global community of CIOs with the tools and strategies to help them lead the next generation of IT and achieve business outcomes. More than 20,000 CIOs, senior business and IT executives worldwide will gather for the insights they need to ensure that their IT initiatives are key contributors to, and drivers of, their organization’s success.

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