Gartner Says Financial Services CIOs Must Align Technology Investment with Business Leader Priorities to Navigate Coronavirus Recovery

Investment in Automation and Remote Work Technologies Can Help Organizations Achieve New Post-COVID-19 Goals

CIOs who are driving financial services digital business strategy and innovation must align with business leader priorities to ensure a coordinated COVID-19 response and recovery, according to Gartner, Inc. Automation and technologies to sustain and improve remote work are two investment areas that will help financial services organizations achieve new business goals.

“Financial services CIOs moved quickly to respond to the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by addressing the needs of their teams as they moved to remote work, or, for employees considered “essential,” ensured that they had the proper equipment and physical space,” said Nicole Sturgill, research vice president at Gartner. “Now, in order to successfully reset and emerge from this crisis, it’s critical that these CIOs align their next steps with business executive leadership’s strategy.”

Business Leaders Say Tech Infrastructure Was a Weakness When COVID-19 Hit; CIOs Disagree

The Gartner 2020 Financial Services COVID-19 Pulse Survey* asked financial services business leaders and CIOs what they considered to be strengths and weaknesses as they responded to the crisis. Over half of business leaders indicated that technology infrastructure was a weakness, compared with just 20% of financial services CIOs.

“This disconnect will be an ongoing, perhaps even growing, challenge if left unaddressed,” said Ms. Sturgill. “CIOs must take immediate action to understand why business leaders felt that technology was a weakness. Their answers can provide the path forward for which new technology investments need to be prioritized.”

Sixty-five percent of financial services CIOs surveyed plan to increase spending on infrastructure technologies such as APIs, microservices and cloud in the coming year, and over half plan to invest in automation that reduces the need for high-touch processes and contributes to cost optimization. “Both business leaders and CIOs demonstrate a shared interest in automation technologies, so it’s clear that this area will be a key priority for financial services organizations post-COVID-19,” said Ms. Sturgill.

In the short-term, Gartner recommends CIOs create a priority map that draws a clear line between business and IT goals and identifies how such technologies will help achieve each goal. In the long-term, financial services CIOs can proactively prevent future gaps by engaging business partners in prioritization sessions early and often and by clearly articulating which investments will make them more resilient as an organization.

“Fixing what’s broken will always be a near term priority for CIOs but planning ahead, while harder in uncertain times, is critical to securing the future success of the organization. CIOs should create a structure to gather business imperatives on a regular basis, both through direct conversation with business leaders and line-of-business stakeholders, and through coordinated planning sessions and documents,” said Ms. Sturgill.

*The Gartner 2020 Financial Services COVID-19 Pulse Survey was conducted online between April 8 and April 24, 2020 among business and IT leaders from various lines of business across financial services. The total sample included 52 responses from the business leaders and 23 responses from the banking and investment IT leaders.

Gartner clients can read more in “Bank and Investment CIOs Risk Misalignment With Business Priorities as They Navigate Crisis Response.”