While major political and economic uncertainties obstructed business investment last year, the fog is now clearing, and digital strategies will play a prominent role in CEOs' 2013 plans, according to a survey of more than 390 senior business leaders in organizations worldwide from IT research firm Gartner.
The survey found that 19 percent of business leaders expect to see a chief digital officer by 2014, and 17 percent expect to see a chief data officer. Report results also indicated many business leaders think they have a digital strategy, as 52 percent of survey respondents said that they have such a strategy in place. The report suggested a number of organizations are already making new, very big bets in information and technology innovation that run to hundreds of millions of dollars of fresh investment.
"CEOs and leadership teams must crystallize what they mean by digital strategy and work with a small subgroup from the executive team to define what 'digital' means and how it manifests in the broader business strategy," Jorge Lopez, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, said in a statement. "They must ensure all elements of the digital strategy link clearly to the core business strategy, and that they do not form an independent, possibly distracting, program of change."
The 2013 Gartner CEO and Senior Executive Survey found that, as macro uncertainties abate, 78 percent of CEOs now feel able to plan their 2013 and 2014 investments and growth, and 2013 will be a turning point year as chief executives and senior executives, by a ratio of more than 4 to 1, plan to increase IT investment in 2013 rather than cut it.
"This is the year when business leadership teams must commit to investing bravely and deeply to redevelop the technology and information capability of their firms," Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner fellow, said in a statement. "After more than a decade of modest investment and sorting out the basics, it's time to think ahead. Business leaders tell us they recognize the need to invest in e-commerce, mobile, cloud, social and other major technology categories, and the capabilities they enable. That can't be done from within existing IT budgets alone."
However, Raskino also cautioned the greater risk now is assuming that an organization’s lackluster technology capability can remain a "back-burner" issue for another couple of years.
In addition to investments in digital strategies, large enterprises will be seriously considering procuring various unified communications (UC) applications as a premise-based, but managed, service, by 2015, according to the findings of the recently released Dimension Data 2013 Global UCC Study, conducted by research firm Ovum. The survey also identified an opportunity for U.S. enterprises to roll out further unified communications and collaboration (UCC) applications on unvetted employee devices, as core UCC is supported on less than one-third of BYOD devices now.