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White Paper


The Transformative CIO: From enabler to leader

December 10, 2018

This white paper is hosted by SAPinsider and sponsored by WIS Executive Research Group.

In early 2018, WIS Executive Research Group (WIS-ERG) undertook a global online survey of 125 chief information officers (CIOs) and 125 chief financial officers (CFOs), in addition to interviews with six senior IT executives from technology, manufacturing, the media, education, and financial services. The purpose was to analyze their perceptions of the impact of digital transformation on their roles and how they are deploying their skills to take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies, such as data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI).
Digital transformation is a demanding and exciting process for organizations, and our findings reflect this. Findings include:

  • CIOs see the enormous potential for digital transformation, but most CIOs are acting as enablers, not leaders of this initiative.
  • Only a third of CIOs have implemented an enterprise-wide digital transformation strategy; the biggest effect of transformation efforts thus far has been on sales.
  • They regard digital transformation as an opportunity to develop new skills, especially in terms of understanding the needs of customers. Most initial transformation projects are customer-focused and sponsored by sales and marketing heads.
  • CIOs tend to be implementers of transformation, not leaders, which means there is a significant opportunity for CIOs to enhance their role and be part of the development of the strategy.
  • To play a more strategic role, technology executives have to focus on the long-term goal of helping to transform their organizations and not become deflected by the technologies of the moment.
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