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CIOs in Africa ‘play a central role in defining new business models’

CIOs in Africa ‘play a central role in defining new business models’

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Analysts examine the results of the Gartner 2019 CIO Agenda that took place at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Cape Town, South Africa.

Digital business is maturing and forcing organisations to change their business models and look to IT to help.

According to Gartner Inc’s annual CIO survey, half of the CIOs in Africa said their organisation has changed or is in the process of changing their business models, and the CIO will have a pivotal role to play. The survey found that 63% of CAPCIO respondents in Africa are taking a lead role or are heavily involved in the decision to change business models.

The survey also revealed that IT has a paramount role to play in the change.

“For 90% of CIOs in Africa IT is very or extremely important to business model change,” said Tomas Nielsen, Research Director at Gartner.

The survey gathered data from more than 3,000 CIO respondents in 89 countries and all major industries, representing around US$15 trillion in revenue and public-sector budgets and US$284 billion in IT spending. A total of 62 CIOs from Africa were surveyed, representing US$4.4 billion in IT spending.

The need for a new foundation

The shift in business and operating models means that CIOs must secure a new foundation for IT. Globally, 33% of organisations are scaling and harvesting the results of digital business, while in Africa, only 21% of CIOs are at that stage.

“African CIOs are still catching up on their digital business efforts compared with their CIO peers globally,” said Nielsen.

“More than half of CIOs in Africa are showing an interest or at the designing stage, while most of the top global performers are scaling their digital initiatives, optimising them or seeking new opportunities.

CIOs in Africa have some inroads to make to compete with their global peers. To help them move their digital initiatives from tentative experiment to massive scale, they need to adopt a new secure foundation for their IT efforts.

Nielsen recommends CIOs in Africa focus on three elements:

  • Secure customer centricity: Don’t rush into the goal of ‘digital first’; instead focus on creating continuous experience across the customer life cycle. Then ensure that cybersecurity programmes become digital business enablers, rather than obstacles to innovation. Finally, measure what matters. For 36% of CIOs in Africa, the impact on consumer engagement was their top KPI to measure digital investments
  • Resourced product management:This is where CIOs shift from a project to a product approach to digital business. A product-centric approach reduces friction in the delivery of driving quicker business outcomes as well as improving customer satisfaction and employee engagement and enables high flexibility. That flexibility is crucial to the implementation of digital business value propositions
  • Business enabling technologies:The choices a CIO makes about technology are essential to the success of digital business. In this situation, CIOs supports the change in business and operating models by adopting game changer technologies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) being one of them

IT budgets are Rrsing in 2019

Digital was ranked among the number one business priority by CIOs in Africa (30%), with business growth (23) being at number two.

“This ranking shows that CIOs in Africa are making digital an integral part of their business strategy and planning,” said Nielsen.

“They clearly want digital fuelled growth in 2019. Digital is not nice to have, it’s mandatory. The investment in digital is increasing, and digital continues to gain currency across the economy in Africa.”

The financial outlook for IT in Africa is also promising. CIOs in Africa expect their enterprise IT budget to increase by 4.3% percent in 2019. This is up from an average of 3.1% last year. While the choice of technologies has not changed year over year, the spending amount for each has greatly increased. CIOs in Africa expect to spend the highest amount of new or additional funding in 2019 on business intelligence and analytics (57%), cybersecurity (46%) and digital business initiatives (39%).

The survey also showed that cybersecurity is becoming a Board of Directors issue.

“Cybersecurity is one of our hygiene factors,” added Nielsen.

“It has to work. CIOs get no thanks when it does, and when it fails spectacularly enough, they can lose their jobs.”

Cybersecurity has already been deployed by 49% of CIO respondents in Africa and 33% of them will deploy it in the next 12 months.

While cybersecurity is the top digital technology deployment among CIOs in Africa, disruptive technologies are reaching a tipping point.

Conversational platforms were ranked in the number two position, with 15% of CIOs in Africa having already deployed it, 13% deploying it in the next year.

“For a quarter of CIOs in Africa they will use their AI-based applications for fraud analysis on transactional data,” said Nielsen.

“In 2019 the journey into digitalisation will accelerate and it is critical that CIOs master new abilities to anticipate and prepare the needed changes that result from the scaling of their digital business initiatives.”

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