7 Trends for CIOs in 2024

Community Blog
Written by Katie O'Reilly

MARCH 12, 2024

At Evanta, a Gartner Company, a key part of what we offer to C-level executives is our ‘by, for’ model – which means that our content and programs are driven by CIOs and for CIOs. This is brought to life in a variety of ways, including through the leadership of the Governing Body of each community. We also create agendas, topics, and discussions by and for CIOs with the invaluable data from our annual Leadership Perspective Survey

We have collected data from more than 1,100 CIOs, enabling us to see some emerging trends in their functional priorities, enterprise priorities and investment plans for the year. 

Overall, CIOs remain focused on protecting the enterprise from risk and enabling data-driven decision making. As AI continues to dominate the conversation, it remains a top priority for CIOs in 2024 – and one that is potentially aligned with their key enterprise priority of driving efficiencies and productivity. 

Here is a look at CIOs’ functional priorities and how they have changed over the past three years.

1. For the third year running, CIOs report that cybersecurity strategies and data and analytics are their top two priorities. These represent two core IT functions between managing risk and an ever-evolving threat landscape and governing data and harnessing insights to help the business achieve its objectives.

2. AI and Machine Learning has become one of CIOs’ top five priorities for the first time, coming in third. It’s not a huge surprise given the many conversations taking place among executives in our communities on this topic. This is the first year that “AI and Machine Learning” has appeared as a specific answer choice in our survey, but we have offered “Advanced technologies, including advanced AI and machine learning,” as an option for several years.

3. Digital Business Priorities is holding steady in the top five, even though it moved down slightly due to AI. CIOs continue to be the drivers of the digital initiatives and transformation that support growth and add value to the business.

Below is an overview of CIOs’ priorities across the enterprise, where we can see that they are continuing to emphasize creating efficiencies and improving productivity.

4. Finding operational efficiencies and increasing productivity has now held the #1 spot as CIOs’ top enterprise priority for four years in a row. This year, in particular, the expectations are high for CIOs on how companies might realize efficiencies and productivity gains from AI.

5. Optimizing or reducing costs has remained in the top five although it dropped one spot in 2024. While there is less uncertainty surrounding the economy this year, CIOs continue to be focused on the ROI of tools and technology investments.

Most CIOs report in the survey that their planned spending for 2024 is increasing (45%) or remaining the same as last year (38%). About 17% say that their spending will decrease year over year. Here’s a look at where they plan to invest in 2024.

6. Sixty-four percent of CIOs plan to spend on AI and Machine Learning compared to 48% of CIOs who said that last year. Of those who plan to spend on AI, a whopping 81% say that they will invest in AI and Machine Learning in the next 12 months.

7. The next three spending areas closely align to CIOs’ functional priorities of cybersecurity, data and analytics and business applications.

As CIOs navigate almost continuous change in technology, business and the macroeconomic environment, they remain focused on driving growth and demonstrating value. They face pressures to realize the return on digital investments as quickly as possible and find efficiencies and cost savings where they can. This year, CIOs are also managing expectations around AI and finding ways to implement it in a secure and valuable manner. 

For the latest data and insights on what CIOs from the world’s leading organizations are focusing on, join a CIO community near you. Or, if you are already a community member, sign in to MyEvanta to find and sign up for opportunities to get together with your CIO peers.

Katie O'Reilly headshot

Katie O'Reilly

Director, Content at Evanta, a Gartner Company