Career watch: A strategic planning scenario for the CIO role

Ninety-five percent of organisations that conduct long-range planning (five to 15 years) are more likely to outperform organisations that don’t plan ahead, according to Gartner's 2015 survey of CEOs and senior business executives.

“Long-term strategic planning can lead to benefits,” says Steve Prentice, vice president and Gartner fellow.

"More than 50 percent of organisations that underperformed did not engage in very long-term planning, and those that did, looked out on average 16 years. In the case of the outperforming companies, over 80 percent carried out planning that was very long term, and they looked even further ahead – a mean of 22 years.”

The Gartner survey reveals the CFO is the top choice of partner by far of the CEO for this undertaking.

Overall, almost 40 percent of respondents named the CFO as either the first, second or third choice of partner for the CEO. These were followed by the chief strategy officer (27 per cent) and the board of directors (26 per cent).

The CIO, in contrast, was named as first, second or third choice by just 17 percent of respondents, behind chief marketing officer (18 per cent), chief operating officer (20 per cent), chairman (20 per cent) and president/owner (23 per cent).

"CEOs' emphasis on long-range planning means that only CIOs who look ahead will stay ahead,” advises Prentice.

CEOs' emphasis on long-range planning means that only CIOs who look ahead will stay ahead. Steve Prentice, Gartner

Related: A CIO’s handbook: Planning for the long game

"For CIOs to be seen as key contributors and advisors regarding the changes and disruptions that technology brings, they must seriously assess their position internally," says Prentice.

"They should position themselves as informed and objective innovators who understand the disruptive role technology will play in business over the next 10 to 20 years, and who can make an essential contribution to long-term and very long-term planning activities within their organisation.

“They should look to the longer term, and identify, explore and experiment with potentially disruptive technologies and technology-enabled capabilities to understand, and be able to demonstrate and articulate, their likely business impact.”

Related: Top tips for effective CIO and board interactions

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