Is digitalization the future of business success?

Every year Gartner conducts the world’s largest CIO survey to shed light on how IT leaders around the world are balancing their strategic business, technical and management priorities. It’s a very interesting read – with much to say about the ever-changing world of digitalization.


One thing that’s very clear from the 2016 Agenda Survey data: digitalization isn’t going anywhere fast. In fact, in the next five years, CIOs expect digital revenues to grow from 16% to 37% while public-sector CIOs predict a rise from 42% to 77% in digital processes.

Digital growth means that lines are becoming increasingly blurred. In a digital universe, top-down, traditionally hierarchical organisations are gradually becoming a thing of the past. It’s clear that the future lies with multiple networks of stakeholders that bring value to each other by exploiting and exploring platform dynamics. So digital leadership is fast becoming a team sport, with CEOs expecting their CIOs to be ‘first among equals’. To succeed, CIOs should adapt their approach. It’s not the only technical layers of a business’s platform that count – but all the layers.

Success, the survey suggests, lies in an open, interwoven approach. It emphasises that platform dynamics – the term the survey uses to describe the value of semi-porous boundaries between business/value, leadership, talent, delivery and technical platforms – provide the business with a foundation where resources can come together – sometimes swiftly for short periods, sometimes for longer, fixed terms – to create value. And resources can be part of the company, or come from outside in the form of external stakeholders. It’s all about connecting them, and the resulting strength and networking between them. With new digital opportunities and evolving threats, CIOs are saying that platform dynamics need to penetrate all aspects of the business.

With nearly 40% of CIOs reporting that they are the leaders of digital transformation in their enterprises, and 34% the innovation leaders, CIOs are clearly being given the opportunity to pioneer and lead the digital transformation. But while platform dynamics ensure a multi-layered approach, it’s CIOs who must manage delivery and talent, as well as execute effective leadership.

That said, talent is an issue. According to the survey, it’s now been recognised globally as the single biggest issue standing in the way of CIOs achieving their objectives. The biggest talent gaps are around information — big data, analytics, and information management — followed by business knowledge/acumen.

It’s clear to see, digitalization is the future of business success. We all need to be prepared to adapt and learn to ensure we’re not left behind. 

You can read the survey in full here or, to learn more about collaborative platforms, speak to a member of the team today.

*Building the Digital Platform: Insights From the 2016 Gartner CIO Agenda Report