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Guidance for Leading Digital Business Value Creation

In today's environment where business technology is a key enabler of competitive advantage, CEOs need to be sure that someone is confidently leading digital business growth across the organization. The default is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) role.

According to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner, in order to accelerate business value creation, CIOs and other IT executives should focus on three key areas -- leading from anywhere, nurturing connections, and reaching beyond.

Mbula Schoen, senior research director at Gartner, said that as organizations continue to emerge from the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, CIOs and IT executives will need to generate value in fundamentally new ways.

Business Technology Market Development

Gartner forecasts that by the end of 2022, the share of knowledge workers working remotely will increase to 47 percent -- that's up from 27 percent in 2019. However, simply moving from onsite to remote is not the destination but merely a starting point for CIOs to embrace radical flexibility.

To attract and retain the necessary IT talent, Gartner recommends CIOs do three things:

1) Design a Human-Centric Workplace

A human-centric workplace is a workplace where purpose, innovation and performance thrive. It is about employees’ full life experience, not just about location and supporting technology. It focuses on what impacts their ability to perform, to be productive and to give the discretionary efforts expected, regardless of where they are.

A recent Gartner survey of 2,410 hybrid or remote knowledge workers showed that with a human-centric workplace, worker fatigue is reduced by 44 percent, intent to stay increased by 45 percent and employee performance increased by 28 percent.

2) Harness the Power of Business Technologists

Gartner research shows that currently, 41 percent of employees identify as business technologists, meaning they report outside of IT departments and create technology or analytics capabilities for internal or external business use.

Organizations that successfully enable business technologists are 2.6 times more likely to accelerate digital business outcomes than organizations that do not empower business technologists.

3) Build an Internal Talent Marketplace

Internal talent marketplace platforms use artificial intelligence (AI) and skills data to support enterprise demand for reskilling and flexibility in connecting workers to roles and short-term assignments.

These marketplaces essentially identify what talent exists in the enterprise, what the talent knows, what they have worked on, and with whom. Thus, offering access to a broader talent pool and more growth and development opportunities for employees.

"Where we work, where technology leadership comes from and where IT is produced has shifted," said Schoen. "CIOs and IT executives must capitalize on changes around the future of work to propel their teams and their enterprises forward."

According to the Gartner assessment, when the 'where' of work innovation and business value shifts, this allows CIOs and IT executives to reach beyond the constraints of current thinking.

Business Technology Forward-Thinking Leadership

"The answer to the question 'where next' cannot be just in terms of a location or direction. 'Where' is actually the exploration of how value can be found and seized," said Daryl Plummer, vice president at Gartner.

Gartner analysts believe that CIOs need to reconsider how they think about creating value for the organization, and how they get to that value. They need a more expansive view of the role technology plays in doing so. And they must be bold to reach beyond the 'where' to discover freedom.

That said, while I recognize that some CIOs are prepared for this leadership challenge, there are others that have already proven they're not ready. Perhaps it's partly due to the daily grind of keeping up with all that legacy IT infrastructure in a typical enterprise data center. Or perhaps it's something else.

No worries, either way, Line of Business (LoB) leaders have assumed the role of providing forward-looking guidance for new digital business growth initiatives. And, many have hired IT-savvy staff to help them chart a course to greater adoption of SaaS offerings that deliver immediate results.

In this scenario, the CIO and their IT organization still have an essential role in managing the cloud-based services, once the vendor selection process is complete and the proof-of-concept and pilot project deployments meet end-user expectations. However, there's less need for changes to the traditional IT operations status quo.

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