Gartner survey shows 42 percent of CEOs have begun digital business transformation
An unsettled global political environment has not shifted CEOs focus on profits and growth in 2017. Growth is the number one business priority for 58 percent of CEOs, according to a recent survey of 388 CEOs by Gartner, Inc. This is up from 42 percent in 2016.
Product improvement and technology are the biggest-rising priorities for CEOs in 2017. "IT-related priorities, cited by 31 percent of CEOs, have never been this high in the history of the CEO survey," said Mark Raskino, Vice President and Gartner Fellow. "Almost twice as many CEOs are intent on building up in-house technology and digital capabilities as those plan on outsourcing it (57 percent and 29 percent, respectively). We refer to this trend as the reinternalisation of IT — bringing information technology capability back toward the core of the enterprise because of its renewed importance to competitive advantage. This is the building up of new-era technology skills and capabilities."
CEO understanding of digital business is improving
While the idea of shifting toward digital business was speculative for most CEOs a few years ago, it has become a reality for many in 2017.
47 per cent of CEOs are being challenged by the board of directors to make progress in digital business, and 56 percent said that their digital improvements have already improved profits. "CEO understanding of the benefits of a digital business strategy is improving," said Mr Raskino. "They are able to describe it more specifically. Although a significant number of CEOs still mention e-commerce or digital marketing, more of them align it to advanced business ideas, such as digital product and service innovation, the Internet of Things, or digital platforms and ecosystems."
CEOs have also progressed in their digital business endeavours. 20 percent of CEOs are now taking a "digital-first" approach to business change. "This might mean, for example, creating the first version of a new business process or in the form of a mobile app," said Mr Raskino. "22 percent are taking digital to the core of their enterprise models. That's where the product, service and business model are being changed and the new digital capabilities that support those are becoming core competencies."
Half of CEOs Have No Digital Success Metric
Although more CEOs have digital ambitions, the survey revealed that nearly half of CEOs have no digital transformation success metric. "For those who are quantifying progress, revenue is a top metric: 33 percent of CEOs define and measure their digital revenue," said Mr Raskino.
CIOs to help CEOs set success criteria for digital business
Deeper transformation can only be achieved at scale if it is systematically driven. "CIOs should help CEOs set the success criteria for digital business," added Mr Raskino. "It starts by remembering that you cannot scale what you do not quantify, and you cannot quantify what you do not define. You should also ask yourself: What is 'digital' for us? What kind of growth do we seek? What's the No. 1 metric and which KPIs must change?"
Many CEOs have recognised that being open-minded, entrepreneurial, adaptable and collaborative are the most-needed digital leadership mindsets. "It is time for CEOs to scale up their digital business ambition and let CIOs help them set and track incisive success metrics and KPIs, to better direct business transformation. CIOs should also help them toward more-abstract thinking about the nature of digital business change and how to lead it," concluded Mr Raskino. "The disruption it brings often cannot be dealt with wholly within existing frames of reference."
More-detailed analysis is available for Gartner clients in the report, "2017 CEO Survey: CIOs Must Scale Up Digital Business."
Gartner CIO events
Mr Raskino will share further details on the survey at the CIO & IT Executive Summit 2017, 18-19 May in Munich. Gartner analysts, and industry leaders will discuss key issues facing the CIO during Gartner’s CIO conferences taking place 8-9 May in Magaliesburg, South Africa and 6-8 June in Toronto. You can follow news and updates from the event on Twitter using #GartnerCIO.
How changing your company's software code can prevent bias
Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day.
Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization.
Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.
Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?
We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization
What impact can exclusive terms have on employees?
Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.
Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code
Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!
What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?
What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.
What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology?
My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve.