Digital business maturity evades ANZ CIOs this year. Source: Shutterstock

Digital business maturity evades ANZ CIOs this year. Source: Shutterstock

Australia and New Zealand need digital resilience this year

ORGANIZATIONS are constantly looking to climb the digital maturity curve but businesses in different parts of the world are making progress at different speeds.

For Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), a recent Gartner survey indicates that progress is slow and businesses need digital resilience if they want to get past the slump and see any real growth.

The company’s analysts asked 161 CIOs in the ANZ about their digital initiatives and found that 70 percent are still evolving their digital business foundations, falling behind in rethinking business models, uplifting consumer experiences and shifting from project to product centricity.

The good news is that the remaining 30 percent believe that they’re now starting to scale and harvest value from their digital investments — which is expected to lead the way for peers in same and related industries.

In fact, digital initiatives are the highest priority for 25 percent of ANZ CIOs in 2019, meaning there’s hope for significant breakthroughs coming out of the region later this year or early next year.

“CIOs must step up to lead their enterprises through a year of predicted tightening economic conditions, competition from digital giants and political volatility,” said Gartner VP of Executive Programs Brian Ferreira.

“It’s more important than ever to maintain momentum during times of uncertainty, not only for digital business transformation, but also for long-term business viability.”

According to Gartner’s analysts, the survey indicates that transformation toward digital business is challenged by flat IT budget growth of 1.5 percent, which is a cause for concern since projected inflation stands at 1.9 percent.

Other regions across the globe are increasing their IT budgets by 2.9 percent on average. In the Asia Pacific region, average IT budget growth stands at 3.5 percent, with China leading the way with IT budgets reportedly growing 6.6 percent on average.

This begs the question: Are ANZ CIOs putting their money where their mouth is?

Flat IT budgets in ANZ will limit capacity to meet the leading CIO priority of digital initiatives, the think tank warned.

“The risk during these uncertain times with limited budgets is to make short-term investment decisions, which can slow or even reverse digital business transformation progress. For those who stick to their plans and focus on the long-term vision, the returns will be there.”

Analyzing the responses from ANZ CIOs, Gartner found that IT budgets this year will be directed towards business intelligence and data analytics (54 percent), cybersecurity and information security (40 percent), core system improvements and transformation (34 percent), cloud services or solutions (32 percent), and customer/user experience (31 percent).