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Digital Business Growth Acceleration Gains Momentum

Multinational enterprise CEOs, and others within the most forward-looking progressive organization C-suite, look to their CIO to inform and guide them on digital transformation best practices. The global COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated economic impact, has provided CIOs the opportunity to increase their influence on strategic planning.

According to the latest research by Gartner Inc., CIOs now have the attention of the executive leadership team in a way that's very compelling. The enterprise path to the future is made possible by IT-enabled innovation, and both boards of directors and CEOs now acknowledge the role that business technology has on Digital Growth.

Building on Strategic Digital Business Initiatives

These key strategic relationships have given CIOs the platform to address their next big challenge in the coming weeks and months of 2021 -- digital business acceleration.

Savvy CIOs are able to convince senior business leaders to modernize their IT and network infrastructure to take full advantage of the latest technology advances. Many prior roadblocks to success have been removed, and the majority of key decision-makers are prioritizing digital initiatives.

Top-performing enterprise leaders know that ongoing economic disruption is to be anticipated in 2021 and beyond. As they plan their post-pandemic strategies, the focus remains on actions required for a rapid response to all major commercial disruptions.

According to the Gartner analyst assessment, this year has reinforced that funding IT-enabled innovation pays significant dividends and will drive future progress. Thus, boards of directors are ready to put substantial resources behind digital business growth acceleration plans.

Gartner believes that spending will increase across the board for most IT organizations in 2021. Moreover, the top performers took decisive action in 2020, and will likely increase their lead over the typical trailing competitors throughout 2021.

Furthermore, research findings uncovered organizations that have already increased their funding of digital business growth initiatives are 2.7 times more likely to be top performers than trailing performers. That said, many enterprises suffered business disruptions during market lock-downs. The most common negative impact was in supply chain delivery speed.

More than half of CIOs reported a decrease in delivery speeds for basic IT equipment such as personal computers and servers for their data center -- that's compared with only 21 percent of CIOs who reported a speed increase.

CIOs expect improvement in 2021, with 51 percent foreseeing an increase in speed -- versus only 7 percent foresees a decrease in speed from IT infrastructure vendor supply chain delivery.

Top performers organizations have already begun investing in efforts to increase supply chain resilience by duplicating key IT suppliers and bringing more business processes in-house. These activities reduce commercial risk but require significant shifts within the enterprise.

Many other e-commerce changes will likely continue to accelerate. For example, customers and citizens shifted their activity online during the lock-down period, thereby increasing the demand for new digital business products and services. Gartner predicts this shift will increase in 2021.

The recognized top performers are developing the capabilities to use digital business initiatives to create deeper relationships with their key stakeholders. Organizations that have increased their use of digital channels to reach customers or citizens are 3.5 times more likely to be top performers than trailing performers.

Advancing Strategic IT Infrastructure Investments

Many CIOs have used the pandemic crisis as an opportunity to increase the deployment of IT tools and to modernize legacy enterprise software applications or associated IT infrastructure. Some CIOs were able to conduct IT team training, increasing the IT workforce, and better align IT organization reporting to senior business executives.

As a result of these changes, the more that savvy CIOs perform well for the line-of-business, the more senior leaders will respond positively to their increased IT investment agenda. Gartner analysts say the key business decision-makers are making higher-value, more strategic requests of the IT organization -- a trend that will continue in 2021.