With supply chain concerns and the war in Ukraine affecting organizations around the world, a new Gartner survey shows significant shifts in CEOs’ thinking regarding sustainability, workforce issues and inflation. However, senior business leaders remain committed to investing in digital transformation, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.
“2022 is the year that CEO perspectives truly changed,” said Mark Raskino, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “The pandemic gradually brought a number of deep societal trends to the surface, However, CEOs’ digital business ambition continues to rise, unabated by the pandemic and related crises.”
For the first time ever, CEOs place environmental sustainability in their top 10 business priorities, based on survey of more than 400 leaders in North America, EMEA and APAC across different industries, revenue and company sizes. Workforce issues, such as talent retention, moved up in priority for the second year in a row, only slightly behind technology-related issues such as digitalization and cybersecurity, and significantly ahead of financial issues such as profitability and cash flow.
Artificial intelligence was reported as the most impactful new technology among CEOs for the third year in a row. On the other hand, 63 percent of CEOs said the metaverse as either not applicable or very unlikely to be a key technology for their business.
“In the past, some CEOs have embraced new technology ideas perhaps a little too enthusiastically,” said Raskino. “In the case of the metaverse, however, it’s doubtful the respondents who think it very likely to be a key technology for their business are as confident as they appear to be.”
Other top technology priorities include digitalization and ecommerce. While not very new on a relative basis, many business leaders still perceive them as novel and disruptive in their situations, said Raskino. Another priority for many CEOs is building a roadmap for supply chain digital transformation to address short-range issues, as well as a strategic long-term vision.
Strategic digital trends
In a separate report, “Top Strategic Priority Trends for 2022,” Gartner identified a dozen trends for technology leaders to consider.
1. Data fabric – a flexible, resilient integration of data sources across platforms and business users, making data available everywhere it’s needed regardless where the data lives.
2. Cybersecurity mesh – a flexible, composable architecture that integrates widely distributed and disparate security services.
3. Privacy-enhancing computation – using a variety of privacy-protection techniques to allow value to be extracted from data while still meeting compliance requirements.
4. Cloud-native platforms – that support new application architectures that are resilient, elastic and agile.
5. Composable applications – making it easier to use and reuse code, accelerating the time to market for new software solutions and releasing enterprise value.
6. Decision intelligence – modeling each decision as a set of processes, using intelligence and analytics to inform, learn from and refine decisions.
7. Hyperautomation – a disciplined, business-driven approach to rapidly identify, vet and automate as many business and IT processes as possible.
8. AI engineering – automating updates to data, models and applications to streamline AI delivery.
9. Distributed enterprises – reflecting a digital-first, remote-first business model to improve employee experiences, digitalize consumer and partner touchpoints, and build out product experiences.
10. Total experience – a business strategy that integrates employee experience, customer experience, user experience and multiexperience across multiple touchpoints to accelerate growth.
11. Autonomic systems – self-managed physical or software systems that learn from their environments and dynamically modify their own algorithms in real time to optimize their behavior in complex ecosystems.
12. Generative AI – generating innovative new forms of creative content, such as video, and accelerating R&D cycles in fields ranging from medicine to product creation.
As the Gartner report said, these strategic technology trends collectively will accelerate digital capabilities and drive growth by solving common business challenges for CIOs and technology executives. They offer a roadmap to differentiating your organization from peers, fulfilling business objectives and positioning CIOs and IT executives as strategic partners in the organization.