Gartner News

Business Leaders Need a Long-TermDigital and Technology Plan

Survey reveals how CEOs view their digital and technology planning.


2015 is looking like a good year for businesses, with many CEOs focusing on growth rather than cutting costs. As part of the 2015 Gartner CEO and senior business executive survey, Gartner analysts wanted to find out how CEOs are looking at long-term planning.

“There were two key things to ascertain: do CEOs do it and, if so, how long is ‘long term’,” said Mark Raskino, vice president and Gartner Fellow. “The reason for looking at this was a growing paradox. On the one hand, CIOs have been telling us for years that they have difficulty talking with the business about the long term. IT investments such as enterprise resource planning often take years, but CIOs find they can get attention and support only for short-term planning.”

Many CEOs are facing deep structural product changes relating to digital. A good example is the automotive industry, where CEOs now regularly and openly talk about self-driving vehicles arriving in about five years, yet not becoming mainstream until later. They are already investing in major software capabilities to bring about that high-tech future. It seems that long-range planning for digital is set to become essential to product strategy — a distinctly different feel to the marketing-driven use of digital in recent years.

In the survey, almost 95 percent of organizations indicated that they have carried out some form of long-term planning activity (covering one to 15 years into the future). More specifically, more than 42 percent were looking beyond the five-year time frame. Those companies that looked further ahead were more likely to outperform organizations that don’t plan ahead.

Some CIOs are confining their planning to incremental changes, and have been for years. However, the algorithmic economy will shift the business landscape and change how successful business leaders plan to guide their companies forward. Organizations will need to understand the effect of digitalization and how IT will permeate into every sector and most products.

Gartner estimates that by 2020, there will be more than 26 billion connected devices. This means around 150 devices connecting every second for the next five years.

“At first, we may notice the proliferation of devices because the trend is new and expensive,” Mr. Raskino said. “However, as digital products become commoditized, we will no longer be aware of the incremental advancement. What will be noticed -and can be seized as business opportunities – is the data produced by the digital product.”

Read more about artificial intelligence (AI) in the next decade along with digital and technology planning on Smarter with Gartner website.

You may also like
Lessons From Artificial Intelligence Pioneers
It’s Time for Infrastructure and Operations to Get Versatile
7 Disruptions You Might Not See Coming
Embrace the Urgency of Digital Transformation