The report, based on a survey of 603 executives worldwide, also found that forward-looking tech leaders, whom we’re referring to as “Progressive CIOs,” are more likely to see the strategic importance of technology in the current environment.
They have a different mindset than their peers, focusing on transformative business issues, agile execution, and the data capabilities that allow organizations to pick up the pace. And firms with Progressive CIOs outperform other organizations in several areas, including employee satisfaction, cybersecurity, customer turnover, and revenue.
Our research found that a unique set of beliefs and behaviors set Progressive CIOs apart from their peers. Here are three priorities that help these forward-looking leaders pull ahead of the pack.
1. Build Partnerships to Fuel Faster Change
CIOs are in a unique position to help an organization meet its strategic goals. But to innovate effectively, technology leaders need to build close partnerships with other leaders across the business.
According to our survey, almost half (49%) of all CIOs believe they need to spend less time on purely IT matters and more time making IT a strategic enabler across the business. And 60% agree that “our business leaders are too focused on short-term costs of system modernization to see the long-term value of digital transformation.”
Progressive CIOs meet this need by building strategic partnerships, particularly with CFOs and other C-suite execs. About 60% describe themselves as collaborative, compared to 44% of all respondents. They work to align their priorities with the broader business strategy and keep all key stakeholders informed, motivated, and onboard with the transformation.
These connections are critical, as there can be serious financial implications if communications between IT and the finance function misfire. To avoid disconnects that can disrupt mission-critical operations, Progressive CIOs have prioritized enterprise-wide integration. A full 90% agree that their IT department is much more integrated into other areas of the business than it was 12 months ago, compared to 72% of the wider sample.
2. Take an Agile and Incremental Approach to Transformation
Organizations have a need for speed. In a rapidly changing marketplace, they have to continually beat the competition to market—and keep up with shifting expectations to remain relevant. Overall, 45% of CIOs say they need to innovate more quickly, and 43% are under pressure to create greater enterprise agility.
In this environment, digital acceleration is key to success—as long as innovation and change drive strategic business results. One in three Progressive CIOs cite “time to deliver a defined business goal” as the most important metric by which they measure the success of new technologies, compared to about one in five of the total population.
To help their organizations move faster—and adapt as plans change—Progressive CIOs are focused on agile, incremental innovation. This approach helps IT teams stay in lockstep with more risk-averse departments, such as finance. It also balances the need to keep the business running smoothly with the demands of modernizing core systems.