CEOs’ priorities ‘shifting to embrace digital transformation’

Growth, IT and workforce issues continue to top chief execs’ concerns – Gartner.

Chloe Green | 2nd May 18
Charity digital transformation

Growth and IT (information technology) top the list of CEOs’ (Chief Executive Officers’) priorities in 2018 and 2019, according to the latest survey of top bosses by technology analyst Gartner.

The survey found that as simple, implemental growth becomes harder to achieve, CEOs (more typically called ‘Chief Executives’ in UK charities) are concentrating on changing and upgrading the structure of their companies, including a deeper understanding of digitalised operations as they move to them.

The Gartner 2018 CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey of 460 CEO and senior business executives in Q4/2017 examined their commercial issues, as well as some areas of technology agenda impact. IT remains a high priority coming in at the third position, along with CEOs’ preoccupation with digital transformation*.

Survey respondents were asked whether they have a management initiative or transformation program to make their business more digital. The majority – 62% – said that they did. Of those organisations, 54% said that their primary digitalisation objective is ‘transformational’, while 46% said the objective of the initiative is optimisation.

This positive attitude toward digitalisation is backed-up by CEOs’ continuing intent to invest in IT. Some 61% of respondents intend to increase spending on IT in 2018,  while 32% plan to make no changes to spending and only 7% foresee spending cuts.

The workforce in many organisations has grown rapidly to become the fourth-biggest priority for the survey’s sample, up from seventh-biggest in 2017’s poll. The number of CEOs mentioning workforce in their top three priorities rose from 16% to 28%. When asked about the most significant internal constraints to growth, employee and talent issues were at the top. Indeed, CEOs quizzed in the Gartner sample cited skills shortage and lacking workforce capability is the ‘biggest inhibitor of digital transformation’.

“These survey results show that if a company has a digital transformation initiative, then the recognised need for culture change is higher,” said survey author Mark Raskino, Vice President at Gartner. “They highly rate a move to a more digital and tech-centric culture.”

* CDN Jargonbust: digital transformation is a generic term mainly applied to the change process associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society, notably organsations and business processes. The transformation stage means that digital usages inherently enable new types of innovation and creativity in a particular domain, rather than simply enhance and support traditional methods. Source: Wikipedia, CDN.