Digital business is a strategic priority for CEOs… but not for CIOs (yet).

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Check out the latest McKinsey Global Study on Digital Business.  There’s so much good stuff in here, I’m just going to quote liberally from it. My bold…

Executives expect that new digital technologies will transform their businesses, but many admit their companies are far from prepared in developing capabilities and meeting challenges.

Most C-level executives say the three key trends in digital business—namely, big data and analytics, digital marketing and social-media tools, and the use of new delivery platforms such as cloud computing and mobility—are strategic priorities at their companies, according to McKinsey’s first annual survey on the topic.  The survey asked executives in the C-suite about their companies’ adoption of these trends; the extent to which their companies are investing in new digital technologies; the value that they expect to reap from these investments; and the role the IT function plays in driving digital business initiatives forward.

These executives have high expectations for the potential value their companies can generate from the three trends, and one-third even expect digital business to increase operating income by more than 10 percent over the next three years. However, they also report some tough challenges. Nearly half of respondents say their companies’ investments in digital initiatives are too small to deliver on their goals. Many executives also cite overall organizational shortcomings and a lack of IT capabilities as barriers to meeting their companies’ technology priorities.

Tons of interesting data in this survey. And here’s the thing:

Tough challenges ahead

Despite their optimism, executives consistently cite two challenges in fulfilling the promise of digital technologies: organizational structures and shortcomings in their infrastructure and IT systems, which can be too inflexible or ill equipped to take advantage of a data-rich world. In part, the technology infrastructure challenge explains why the CIOs are much likelier than all other executives to believe more investment will be required to deliver on their organizations’ priorities.

The results also reveal some interesting findings about the role the CIO and the IT function play in moving digital initiatives forward. More than half of executives say their CIOs are supportive and directly engaged in these initiatives, though one-quarter say these executives are not engaged at all. Responses about the broader IT organization reveal even less involvement at the functional level: only 14 percent say their companies’ IT functions are spearheading new digital-business efforts. While 39 percent say their IT functions actively engage with or support these efforts, nearly one-third say the function is supportive but lacks the capabilities to deliver on goals.

So what’s up with that?  IT departments and CIOs – what’s going on here?  Are you afraid of change? Are you battening down the hatches?  Do you not have enough resources to overhaul old processes?  Or something else entirely? Does these issues in the chart above reflect YOUR issues?  Enquiring minds want to know.

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