Digital business has created a change-ready mindset for 77% of CIO survey respondents in Africa, according to Gartner’s annual CIO survey.
The survey showed that half of CIO respondents in Africa are responsible for the digital transformation strategy of their organisation, and 43% are in charge of innovation.
“CIOs in Africa are fully embracing and capitalising on digital business,” said Tomas Nielsen, research director at Gartner. Gartner analysts presented these findings during Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place in Cape Town through Thursday.
The 2017 Gartner CIO Agenda Survey gathered data from 3,160 CIO respondents in 98 countries and all major industries, representing approximately $13 trillion in revenue/public-sector budgets and $277 billion in IT spending.
Sixty-six CIOs from Africa were surveyed, representing $3 billion in IT spending.
The survey showed that 45% of CIOs in Africa are either designing or delivering their digital initiative, while 13% moved beyond delivery into scaling and harvesting on their digital initiatives.
However, the majority of CIO respondents in Africa remain in the initial stages of their digital journey – and for these CIOs, the biggest barrier is the organisation’s culture.
“Nearly half of all CIOs said that culture is the biggest barrier that prevents them from scaling their digital business transformation,” said Nielsen.
“Their second highest challenge is shortage of resources.” This means that CIOs in Africa need to embrace a broader role beyond technology, and hone their change management and transformational leadership skills to succeed in their digital transformation journey.
As such digital business is not only driving the need of new roles in IT, such as API product managers, chief analytics officers, user experience designers and cloud architects, but for CIOs in Africa another critical investment area is cybersecurity.
Digital change is also causing the role of the CIO to evolve, Gartner said. Respondents reported that they were spending 38% of their time with the executive leadership team – up 8 percentage points from three years ago.
CIOs are increasingly involved in traditional business tasks such as cost optimisation, building business agility, and developing business strategy and planning.
In addition, CIOs are increasingly being assessed on business-focused metrics as well as IT-performance metrics.
“The financial outlook for IT in Africa looks promising as there will be more money allocated to IT in 2018,” said Nielsen. CIOs in Africa expect their enterprise IT budget to increase 3.1%, on average in 2018. This is up from an average of 2.5% last year.
CIOs in Africa expect to spend the highest amount of new or additional funding in 2018 on business intelligence and analytics (16% of respondents), cybersecurity (16%) and digitalisation (15%), while 40% reported decreasing their spending on data centres.
The Internet of Things (IoT) was ranked as the second highest investment in digital technologies by CIO respondents in Africa.
The survey found that 11% of CIOs in Africa have already invested and deployed IoT, 17% are actively experimenting with it, and 25% have medium or long-term planning for IoT.
“Interest in artificial intelligence (AI) is also growing with most respondents indicating AI is either on their radar or a medium to long-term plan for 38% and 27% of CIOs in Africa, respectively, with only 2% having deployed AI,” said Nielsen.
“The key is to increase investment in technologies that help organisations reach their business objectives. CIOs should align their priorities with the priorities of their C-level partners. This requires that they know what those priorities are,” he said.