Gartner Symposium Recap: CEO is a Friend, Not a Foe


This week I am reporting live at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando. After a full day of sessions ranging from the importance of agile culture to IT security, the main theme that came about was the relationship between the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO). There’s been more significance placed on this alliance than ever before because technology continues to dominate investments and strategies across the businesses—and the need for the CIO to deliver is at an all-time high.

There are always higher-ups we adhere to, and CIOs are no different. Whether shareholders, management, or the public, people are constantly out to critique the final product. But more commonly than not, final approval comes from the CEO. In a session today at Gartner, David Aron, Vice President and Gartner Fellow, discussed the 2016 CIO Agenda report that was released today. The report described the four different relationships that a CIO has with their CEO and how to achieve the highly sought after “trusted ally” status.

1. At-risk
2. Transactional
3. Partnering
4. Trusted ally

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 9.24.30 PM

(Source: http://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/cio/pdf/cio_agenda_insights_2016.pdf)

According to the report, only 23 percent of CIOs feel like they’re a trusted ally, however that is up 19 percent from two years ago.

How does a CIO move from trusted partner to trusted ally?

Aron believes the key to becoming a “trusted ally” is to be able to not only deliver on a technical level, but also be able to translate these IT successes to those not as familiar with the nomenclature. A typical CEO may not be as well versed in the different firewalls being implemented into a website, but they must be able to learn how this will impact the overall business.

Marc van Zadelhoff, IBM Vice President, Strategy and Product Management, Security also emphasized the significance of explaining the basics to your entire organization. In the 2015 Gartner CEO and senior business executive survey, 25 percent of CEOs named a technology issue in their top three business priorities. Proving IT problems are rising to the top of the list of CEO priorities and making it vital to execute on obstacles the entire organization recognizes as a problem.

What is the biggest barrier to CIO success?

Another finding from the study highlighted the issue with talent. It in fact tops the list of issues standing in the way of a CIO’s success. With the biggest talent gaps around:

• Big Data
• Analytics
• Information Management
• Knowledge/acumen

You can review the complete report on Gartner’s website.

Please stay tuned for more insights from the Gartner Symposium. Tomorrow I will be focusing on mobility and the Internet of Things.

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