Top CIO Priorities for 2021

Earlier this year, Gartner published their annual CIO Agenda outlining CIO’s top priorities for 2021. They surveyed over 1,800 CIOS across 74 countries covering $85 million in technology spending. One of the key takeaways is that CIOs have more responsibility and leadership visibility than ever before, which gives them a major opportunity to play a leading role in their organization’s digital business transformation.

66% of CIOs reported a stronger CIO-CEO relationship, and 70% of respondents have assumed leadership of high-impact initiatives. Of those high-level initiatives, Gartner asked the CIOs to identify their top priorities for the remainder of the year. The top four priorities and initiatives summarized include:

  • Redirect Resources: Over the course of 2020, there were several technological advancements in cloud computing and remote work, and IT budgets and personnel were shifted to allow these changes to take place. Now, looking into 2021, funding and personnel will need to be redirected to focus on where future disruptions will occur. The good news is that on average, IT budgets globally are increasing by 2%.
  • Remodel Operations: The supply chain industry was dramatically affected by COVID-19. 51% of CIOs reported a decline in the speed of supply, and 18% reported a decline in supplier reliability. Even with a decrease in supplier speed and reliability, CIOs must deliver on their IT objectives and get basic needed equipment like PCs and servers to their employees.
  • Win Differently: COVID-19 forced individuals to stay home and rely more on digital projects, and industries have had to transform their products and services to meet the changing consumer demand. In fact, 76% of CIOs reported an increase in demand for new digital products, and 83% expect this demand to increase further for the remainder of the year.
  • Refocus Leadership: The main priority for CIOs in 2021 is refocusing IT leadership on the new initiatives and projects in store. This includes hiring the right teams to implement projects, as well as getting current employees trained and on board with new initiatives. The majority of 2020 was reacting to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now that we are almost post-pandemic, CIOs can begin focusing on new digital transformation projects.

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