Three Key Themes for CIOs in 2023

Community Blog
Written by Liz Ramey

FEBRUARY 14, 2023

Building a digital business has become a stark reality for many CIOs today, as they continue to race toward an enigmatic ‘finish line.’ Recognizing the perennial nature of change and building agility into a CIO’s digital strategy can be a game-changer, allowing space to continuously transform products, services, operations, and delivery methods. The acceptance of change, whether that be from external or internal forces, provides CIOs with an opportunity to drive growth and explore new innovative capabilities.

In a recent survey, Gartner research found that 94% of CEOs want to “maintain or accelerate pandemic-driven digital transformation” in 2023. But this demand comes at a time when many organizations are conservatively planning for a looming recession. This has many CIOs asking, “What digital initiatives should we prioritize?” and “How do I, as a fiscally responsible leader, find opportunities for growth and innovation, while balancing the needs of the enterprise today?” 

The ideas of impacting growth, continuous change and improving outcomes are reflected in three themes we think CIOs will be focused on in 2023:

  1. Accelerating High Growth and Digitally-Driven Outcomes

While the pandemic and the economic recovery have impacted everyone differently – there’s an almost universal need for business leaders to drive growth. And one way CIOs can do that is to advance digital initiatives that improve outcomes, such as creating a better customer experience. CIOs will have to balance driving critical digital initiatives with other priorities, like cybersecurity strategies and digital talent shortages.

  1. Thriving Through Volatility - Empowering People, Resiliency and Insights

Change, uncertainty and speed have all become the norm in business today. Disruption is no longer something that happened three years ago – it is ongoing. CIOs are tasked this year with helping their teams thrive despite uncertainty, while retaining key talent, advancing their digital skills and growing their usage of data-driven insights. 

  1. Orchestrating Change - Influencing Culture and Creating Value

Because CIOs drive digital initiatives – and a significant amount of growth – they are often a change agent in an organization. Their teams have become increasingly agile and adaptable, putting them in a position to influence others across the enterprise. And importantly, CIOs’ initiatives can lag if they are not adopted and embraced across the organization.

According to Gartner’s CIO Agenda for 2023, nearly 60% of CEOs believe that digital initiatives take too long to complete, and 52% think that those projects take too long to realize value. A key challenge and opportunity for CIOs this year is to prioritize the initiatives that will impact the bottom line and de-prioritize those that won’t. CIOs also need to be mindful of CEOs’ expectations around timelines and outcomes, showing incremental value as it comes to fruition, instead of waiting to share large impact value realization. 

CIOs have risen to the challenge year after year, delivering value through technology to their organizations. They have a significant role both in the C-suite and across the organization, supporting the accelerated digital initiatives required to drive growth and impact the business.

As responses to our annual Leadership Perspective Survey continue to come in, we will refine what CIOs are focused on into their specific mission critical priorities for the year. To stay on top of what your CIO peers are working on and validate your strategies with theirs, join a CIO community near you, or check out our calendar for opportunities to get together in person and virtually.

Liz Ramey headshot

Liz Ramey

Director, Content at Evanta, a Gartner Company