CIO Leadership Perspectives

CIO Views on 2020 Priorities & Challenges
October 2020

COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on businesses and organizations around the world in 2020. Business leaders have had to rethink products, processes, supply chains, and workforce and business models. They accelerated digital transformation -- if they hadn’t already -- as a survival strategy. 

In the midst of this disruption, C-level leaders connected virtually with their peers in Evanta communities to share ideas and collaborate on rebounding and leading their teams through the crisis. They offered their perspectives in one major survey and several pulse surveys, enabling us to compile and share sentiments among all CIO peer communities. 

Here, we explore the topics that are driving conversations among the most influential CIOs in the world. 


Mission Critical Priorities

Despite the upheaval of 2020, CIOs remain focused on these top 5 priorities for the second half of the year.

Figure 1: Top 5 Priorities

In early 2020 before the pandemic, cybersecurity was not top of mind, while other top priorities for CIOs remained largely the same. 

  1. Improving business performance by transforming operations, now #3.
  2. Building data & analytics capabilities for better business decisions, still #2.
  3. Influencing a new “IT-business engagement” paradigm, no longer in the top 5.

Their planned business spending and investments are in areas that address their top priorities.

For their top priority of cybersecurity, CIOs cited specific goals in our survey. Here is a sample of what they set out for their teams and organizations to pursue:

  • Balancing cost, usability, and security
  • Keeping the company safe and ahead of threats
  • Practicing resilience and automation
  • Securing networks and training employees
  • Raising the company’s cybersecurity maturity level

CIOs also told us what challenges they anticipated when it comes to driving toward those goals. Here is what they cited as cybersecurity challenges in their organizations: 

  • Establishing an operating model appropriate to risk tolerance
  • Recruiting, training, and skills development
  • Increased remote workforce
  • Staying ahead of the curve or the fast-changing environment
  • Achieving goals with fewer resources

CIO Profile

A snapshot of what IT leaders are thinking about going into the 4th quarter of 2020.

As business leaders head into 2021, there is continued uncertainty around the pandemic, the economic impacts, and the organizational effects of the distributed, remote workforce. To join conversations with fellow CIOs on these topics and more, find your local CIO community or view the calendar for upcoming opportunities to connect virtually with your peers.


Mission Critical Priorities are taken from Evanta’s proprietary Leadership Perspective Survey of 2020. 
CIO Profile results are taken from Evanta’s monthly pulse surveys conducted from April-August 2020.


by CIOs, for CIOs

Join the conversation with peers in your local CIO community.