CEO and Senior Executive Survey 2013: Why CEOs Will Want a Digital Strategy This Year

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1 G CEO and Senior Executive Survey 2013: Why CEOs Will Want a Digital Strategy This Year Published: 25 March 2013 Analyst(s): Ken McGee Gartner's CEO and senior business executive survey indicates 67% of respondents have not yet developed an integrated "digital business" strategy for their enterprise. Other survey responses indicate they will be ready for integrated digital business strategies to be developed, starting this year. Impacts The number of enterprises creating digital business strategies is growing, creating a need for CIOs of enterprises without such strategies to brief their CEOs on the digital business trend before their enterprises' competitors do. Because an increasing number of CEOs are planning to hire new chief digital officers (CDOs) by the end of 2014, they must finalize the charters, skills and goals of these new CDOs by the end of this year. CEOs' 2013 priority investments in product enhancement, sales, IT and marketing will drive CIOs and others to create formal digital business strategies by Recommendations CIOs should prepare and hold a CEO briefing in 2013 that includes the digital business state of readiness of competitors within their sectors. CIOs should take advantage of existing relationships with the recruiting firms their organizations frequently use to gain insight into the skills, backgrounds and experiences other clients seek when they commission the recruiting firm to search for a CDO. During 2013, CEOs must complete two digital-related tasks: (1) define what "digital" means to both their industry and their enterprise; and (2) decide whether to commission the creation of a formal, integrated digital business strategy for their enterprise.

2 Analysis Because the term "digital business" provides little insight into what it is and why CEOs should care about the concept, we provide a brief overview of the term "digital business" itself, followed by our interpretations of CEO responses to matters regarding digital business. Digital Business Anyone who studies digital business is almost immediately challenged by just trying to find a clear, authoritative and widely accepted definition of the term. While it is doubtful that such a clear, cogent and widely accepted definition yet exists, this lack of clarity has not prevented enterprises from creating digital strategies, hiring chief digital officers and investing in digital business solutions. In concept, digital business rests on a number of underlying principles. The first principle, "being digital" is presented in the book, "The Digital Edge," by Gartner associates Mark McDonald and Andy Rowsell-Jones, who state: "The idea of 'being digital' has been around since Nicholas Negroponte authored a book of the same title in His thesis then, and the operative definition of digital to this day, has been the use of technology to replace physical or analog atoms with digital bits." Second, after achieving the state of "being digital," the notion of "moving from analog to digital processes" is explored by Erik Brynjolfsson and Adam Saunders in their book "Wired for Innovation: How Information Technology Is Reshaping the Economy": "Moving an increasing number of processes into the paperless, digital realm is one of the keys to making productive use of IT. This practice frees the company from the physical limitations of paper and supports the remaining six practices of a digital organization." Finally, to understand how any business value can be derived from "digital business," we return to McDonald and Rowsell-Jones, who provide a supersetlike description of digital business something they call "digitalization": "A digitalized business creates value and revenue from digital assets. It goes beyond further rounds of process automation to transform processes, business models and customer experience by exploiting the pervasive digital connections between systems, people, places and things." They explain further: "The term digitalization seeks to capture the range of changes required in applying digital technology to business. These changes go well beyond capturing and manipulating information in a digital format digitization." To place all CEO and senior business executive survey responses, and especially our discussion on digital business findings, in some perspective, we began by asking the very first question: "Please tell us about the top three to five strategic business priorities for your organization in 2013 that are most important to its success (ranked by top three)." Page 2 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

3 Even though respondents had the opportunity to select from a total of 47 different "top strategic business priority" categories, not one single person selected "digital business" as being one of their top five strategic business priorities. Indeed, one has to go all the way down the list to category No. 25 to find the paltry 5.6% that chose "digital" as a business priority. The top five business priorities selected were: 1. Growth 2. Profitability 3. Customer 4. Cost 5. Sales and marketing Figure 1. Impacts and Top Recommendations for CEOs and CIOs Addressing Digital Business Strategies Impacts Top Recommendations Enterprises are creating digital business strategies, creating a need for CIOs of enterprises without such strategies to brief their CEOs on the digital business trend before their competitors do. CIOs should prepare and hold a CEO briefing in 2013 that includes the digital business state of readiness of competitors within their sectors. Because an increasing number of CEOs are planning to hire new CDOs by the end of 2014, they must finalize the charters, skills and goals of these new CDOs by the end of CIOs should use their organizations' recruiting firms to gain insight into the skills, backgrounds and experiences other clients seek when they commission the recruiting firm to search for a CDO. CEOs' 2013 priority investments in product enhancement, sales, IT and marketing will drive CIOs and others to create formal digital business strategies by CEOs should use 2013 to decide whether to commission the creation of a formal digital business strategy for their enterprise. Source: Gartner (March 2013) Gartner, Inc. G Page 3 of 10

4 Impacts and Recommendations The number of enterprises creating digital business strategies is growing, creating a need for CIOs of enterprises without such strategies to brief their CEOs on the digital business trend before the enterprises' competitors do CEOs and senior business executives were asked the following question: "To what extent does your organization have a digital strategy today?" (See Figure 2 for details.) Figure 2. CEOs' Views on the Status of "Digital Strategies" in 2013 Our digital strategy is our business strategy 1% We have nothing we recognize as digital strategy 14% 52% have a digital strategy Digital strategy is an integrated part of our main business strategy 39% We have some strategy in that area, but not called out as digital 35% Source: Gartner (March 2013) We have a digital strategy, separate to our main business strategy 11% As the reader can see, respondents reported varying degrees of adopting a digital strategy so far, a pattern that seems quite consistent with nearly any other new business concept that was in its earliest stages of evolution. Answers included: "We have nothing we recognize as digital strategy." This 14% of respondents suggests this group will only decrease over time as digital business strategies become as ubiquitous tomorrow as having a Web presence became during the last decade or so. Indeed, we believe every company must have a strategy for dealing with digital change. A heavy emphasis on the CIO providing advice and counsel to reluctant CEOs would either help reinforce that CEO's reluctance or serve as a catalyst for other CEOs to order an examination into what digital business strategy adoption means to enterprises within their industry sector. "We have some strategy in that area, but not called out as digital." The 37% of respondents calls out for a detailed examination of the goals and the means by which the goals will be Page 4 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

5 achieved from the otherwise-named strategy. If the examination concludes the examined strategy does not involve " creating value and revenue from digital assets," or as Nicolas Negroponte described, transforming "physical items into digital bits," then creating ways to achieve one or both of these two parameters should become a top priority. Recommendation: CIOs should prepare and hold a CEO briefing in 2013 that includes the digital business state of readiness of competitors within their sectors. The briefing should also include an analysis of other companies that responded too late to adopting a digital business strategy (for example, Borders, Blockbuster and Kodak). Because an increasing number of CEOs are planning to hire new CDOs by the end 2014, they must finalize the charters, skills and goals of these new CDOs by the end of this year Plans for establishing a digital direction in the future were explored in the following questions: Which of the following information, technology and business change leadership roles exist in your organization today? Which information, technology and business change leadership roles do you believe will be present in your organization by the end of 2014? Findings in Figure 3 indicate that, if a growing number of CEOs will be hiring CDOs in less than 22 months from this writing, then those same CEOs are very likely to be formulating their digital plans and goals right now. Gartner, Inc. G Page 5 of 10

6 Figure 3. Current Status of and Future Forecast for Placement of Chief Digital Officers Percentage of Respondents Have One Today Plan to Hire by End of 2014 Source: Gartner (March 2013) We have conducted early discussions with some of the largest recruiting firms in the world to identify the skills, backgrounds, experiences and other attributes desired by those who have recently searched for a new CDO. Early research findings from interviews with CDO recruiters suggest some of the following desirable characteristics of a new CDO: "Core business economics, not as much; interestingly, computer science or technology." "MBA" (no specialty specified, but suspects economics and finance background) "Chief digital officer will often become [an advisor and counselor] not only to the CEO or to the broader executive committee, but will have a voice with the board and often with external constituents that may be critical partners to that company." Recommendation: CIOs wishing to gain insight into CDOs with whom they will work very closely in the future should take advantage of existing relationships with the recruiting firms their organizations frequently use to gain insight into the skills, backgrounds and experiences other clients seek when they commission the recruiting firm to search for a CDO. Obtaining insight into direct reporting structures is also advised. Page 6 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

7 CEOs' 2013 priority investments in product enhancement, sales, IT and marketing will drive CIOs and others to create formal digital business strategies by 2014 Survey responses have helped us establish: (1) a reasonable view of what digital business seems to be; (2) the top priorities of CEOs; (3) that the number of companies with digital strategies seems to be growing; and (4) that a growing number of CEOs plan to hire CDOs. The last indication, that CEOs will want a digital business strategy this year, is derived from the survey question: "Compared to fiscal-year 2012, how will your organization's investments in the following business areas change in fiscal-year 2013?" (See Figure 4.) Figure 4. CEOs' and Senior Executives' Ranked Investment Intention by Business Area, 2013 vs Rank Rank Product enhancement Sales IT People and culture development Marketing Risk mgmt., legal and compliance R&D [Not asked in 2011] - Supply chain Capital equipment Property and facilities Business services Percentage of Respondents Percentage of Respondents N = 391 CEOs and senior business executives Will increase No change Will decrease Source: Gartner (March 2013) Gartner, Inc. G Page 7 of 10

8 Notable among the areas where investment increases will be the largest are: Product enhancement Sales IT We interpret the first two choices as activities involved in the specific quest for new revenue growth. These two areas, product enhancement (to entice new revenue growth) and sales (the means by which revenue growth will happen), also directly support the primary goal of CEOs and senior business executives: growth. There are, however, new ways to achieve the CEO's No. 1 priority that go beyond navigating uncertainty and hoping new products will sell by an ever-growing sales force. Recommendation: CEOs unsure about digital business should use 2013 to become acquainted with the evolving ability to gain insight into demand and clairvoyance into future sales. This is the year CEOs should decide whether to commission the creation of a digital business strategy for their enterprise. Recommended Reading Some documents may not be available as part of your current Gartner subscription. "CEO and Senior Executive Survey 2013: As Uncertainty Recedes, the Digital Future Emerges" "Does Your Business Need a Chief Digital Officer?" "Toolkit: Assess Technological Threats to Your Enterprise's Revenues" Survey Methodology Gartner conducted research October 2012 to December 2012 to examine CEO and senior business executive views on current business issues as well as some areas of technology agenda impact. The bulk of the research was achieved through a Web-based survey among LinkedIn members, with 333 business leaders qualified and surveyed. An additional 58 surveys were collected through efforts administered via individual URLs, telephone interviews and paper surveys delivered in Japan. All respondents were screened for active employment in organizations with more than $250 million in annual revenue. The sample mix is as follows: CEOs = 147 CFOs = 149 COOs = 49 Page 8 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

9 Chairman, president, board of directors or other C-level = 46 Here is the mix by region: North America = 152 Europe = 124 Asia/Pacific = 78 (20 from Japan) Brazil = 20 South Africa = 12 Middle East = 5 The survey was developed collaboratively by a team of Gartner analysts who follow the IT market and was reviewed, tested and administered by Gartner's Research Data Analytics (RDA) team with Heather Keltz as project manager. The results of this study are representative of the respondent base and not necessarily the market as a whole. This is part of a set of related research. See the following for an overview: CEO and Senior Executive Survey 2013: Research Overview Gartner, Inc. G Page 9 of 10

10 GARTNER HEADQUARTERS Corporate Headquarters 56 Top Gallant Road Stamford, CT USA Regional Headquarters AUSTRALIA BRAZIL JAPAN UNITED KINGDOM For a complete list of worldwide locations, visit Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. or its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner s prior written permission. If you are authorized to access this publication, your use of it is subject to the Usage Guidelines for Gartner Services posted on gartner.com. The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in such information. This publication consists of the opinions of Gartner s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Although Gartner research may include a discussion of related legal issues, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner is a public company, and its shareholders may include firms and funds that have financial interests in entities covered in Gartner research. Gartner s Board of Directors may include senior managers of these firms or funds. Gartner research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from these firms, funds or their managers. For further information on the independence and integrity of Gartner research, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity. Page 10 of 10 Gartner, Inc. G

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