Sixty-nine percent of boards of directors (BoDs) accelerated their digital business initiatives in the wake of COVID-19 disruption, according to a new survey from Gartner.
Almost half anticipate changing their organizations’ business model as a result of the pandemic.
The survey was conducted with 265 respondents in the US, EMEA and APAC in a board of director role or a member of the corporate board of directors.
The majority of BoDs (67%) expect budgetary increases in technology as a result of the pandemic, while functional areas such as marketing and HR are expected to experience budgetary cuts. Respondents expect a nearly 7% increase in their IT budgets for 2020.
Analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) are expected to emerge stronger as game-changer technologies as a result of the pandemic, as enterprises lean on them to drive better decision making in the new remote-work-first environment.
Driven by the onset of COVID-19, digital technology initiatives will serve as the top strategic business priority for BoDs over the next two years, followed by customer engagement and managing the remote workforce.
Eighty-six percent of respondents deem technology as having a transformational role in addressing strategic business priorities, which is why most organizations are expected to create a new “Chief Digital Officer” role to respond to COVID-19 in the long term.
“BoDs play a strong role in helping the executive leadership team focus beyond the short-term risks associated with this extended pandemic,” said Partha Iyengar, distinguished research vice president at Gartner.
“Technology-driven digital transformation can, and should be, a strong enabler in addressing employee, customer, supply chain and broad brand impact to position the enterprise to come out of the crisis stronger.”
BoDs View the CIO as a Partner
Almost all BoDs expect functional leaders to collaborate with one another during COVID-19. More than half believe that CIOs serve as partners with senior business leaders, while over a third look to the CIO to lead digital business issues alone.
“CIOs and the rest of the executive management team should engage with the BoD on creating a longer-term strategy for revival – and even survival – post crisis,” said Iyengar.