CIOs rise to the new revenue challenge

The pandemic has accelerated the need for CIOs to pitch in on the bottom line. Here’s how tech execs are transforming into more revenue-focused IT leaders.

CIOs rise to the new revenue challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an all-hands-on-deck approach, especially in IT. And that ethos extends beyond business continuity efforts to include helping sustain and grow revenue, as IT has increasingly leveraged digitization throughout the pandemic as a powerful weapon to deliver greater efficiencies.

Knee-deep in digital transformation initiatives and ensuring work from home continues to run smoothly, many CIOs have become further entrenched in revenue discussions as technology is increasingly seen as a way to contribute to the organization’s bottom line.

CIOs are being asked to take on more revenue-driven responsibilities now, says Partha Iyengar, a Gartner fellow. The caveat, he says, is that this applies to CIOs who meet the criteria of boards of directors as partners or trusted allies.

Those CIOs “really have to drive revenue and business outcomes directly,’’ Iyengar says. Boards have very clear expectations, “but if the CIO doesn’t have the credentials of being a strong business leader they’re not being given that responsibility. But boards very clearly believe technology is essential to increasing revenue and profitability.”

In a July IDG survey, 53% of CIO respondents cited “maintain overall revenue, given market shifts” as a top digital business objective, compared to 22% in 2019. Also cited was the desire to drive new revenue, which increased to 53% up from 48% last year.

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