Gartner Survey Finds EMEA CIOs More Likely to Scale Digital Initiatives Than Respondents in Other Regions

Analysts Present Findings From the Gartner 2019 CIO Agenda Survey at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2018, November 4-8 in Barcelona, Spain

Digital business has reached a tipping point in EMEA, with 35 percent of CIOs surveyed in EMEA being in a position to scale their digital initiatives, an increase from 20 percent last year, according to Gartner, Inc.’s annual global CIO survey.

“EMEA CIOs are setting the example when it comes to harvesting the results of digital initiatives,” said Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Success at evolving endeavours to scale is higher in EMEA than among their CIO counterparts in North America, Latin America and Asia/Pacific. In addition, to encourage the application of “digital” at scale within their organisation, 64 percent of EMEA CIOs fostered better collaboration with the business, and 46 percent reduced silos and internal complexity.”

Gartner analysts presented the survey findings during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here until Thursday. The 2019 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from 3,102 CIOs, including 921 in 53 EMEA countries, and all major industries.

The EMEA sample represents nearly $5 trillion in revenue/public-sector budget and $79 billion in IT spending. Furthermore, there will be more money spent on IT in future, as IT budgets in EMEA are projected to increase by 3.3 percent, on average, in 2019.

In parallel, the maturity of digital business in EMEA can be ascertained by looking at the types of jobs that exist internally. In EMEA, 31 percent of the CIO respondents said their organisations have a cloud architect, 17 percent have a digital workplace leader, and 13 percent hired an algorithm designer.

Nearly Half of EMEA CIOs Report Business Model Change

The maturity of digital business is forcing organizations to change business models. Forty-seven percent of the EMEA CIOs surveyed reported that their organizations have already changed business models or are in the process of doing so. “In this shift, the role of the CIO is key,” said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. “This is confirmed by the results of the survey, which showed that 58 percent of CIO respondents in EMEA are taking a leading role or are heavily involved in the business model change.”

For 39 percent of the EMEA organizations undergoing a change of business model, the major drivers are the desire to react to changing consumer demands, which include better customer service, and the need to protect their brand reputation. The survey showed that CIOs in EMEA are focusing their efforts to improve the customer experience by making engagement with their organizations easier (49 percent) and using digital business to reduce the cost of consumers’ engagement (46 percent).

AI and Data and Analytics Are Game-Changing Technologies in 2019

Digital initiatives are the No. 1 business priority for 29 percent of CIOs in EMEA for the remainder of this year and next year, which means that spending on disruptive technologies will increase. The survey found that 44 percent of EMEA CIO respondents will direct the largest portion of their new spending to business intelligence/data and analytics, 41 percent to cybersecurity and 37 percent to digital business initiatives (including marketing). These will be the three most funded technology areas in 2019.

Artificial intelligence (AI) came in at sixth for new or increased spending in 2019, but was identified as the No. 1 game-changing technology area, closely followed by data and analytics. Data and analytics, historically the leader in this regard, took second place this year, being identified by 23 percent of the EMEA respondents. The survey results show a maturing of AI use cases in EMEA. This year, voice interfaces (specifically chatbots) and process optimization are among the top five technologies that EMEA CIOs have already deployed or will deploy in the next 12 months. “AI has gone mainstream. It’s now a technology that interfaces with customers and internal operations staff,” said Mr. Rowsell-Jones.

With regards to implementation, unsurprisingly, given expectations of security challenges and the tightening of regulations, cybersecurity was ranked the top digital deployment technology in EMEA. CIO respondents increased their deployment of cybersecurity year over year, with 86 percent having already deployed it or planning to do so in the next 12 months. This represents a 10 percentage point increase over last year’s finding.

“This year, EMEA CIOs are excelling at scaling their digital initiatives,” said Mr. Rowsell-Jones. “However, they face barriers, including insufficient resources (44 percent) and business culture blocking change (38 percent). To continue the positive momentum, it’s paramount that EMEA CIOs build stronger relationships with business executives and promote the value of IT internally.”

Gartner clients can learn more in the report “2019 CIO Agenda: Securing a New Foundation for Digital Business.”