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A Retail CIO’s Role in Driving Digital Business Success

by Robert Hetu  |  March 9, 2018  |  Submit a Comment

In my latest research, 2018 CIO Agenda: A Retail CIO’s Role in Driving Digital Business Success, I found that culture is not only a business problem. The change readiness of the retail IT organization and CIO leadership of non-IT functions lag in our 2018 Gartner CIO Survey.┬áMost retail CIOs have a seat at the table, but still have work to do to become more involved in leading non-IT activities. As the figure shows, CIOs from top performers spend more time, on average, on executive leadership than traditional IT leadership tasks.

Outside Leadership


When compared to top performers, retail CIOs lag in average hours spent on non-IT leadership tasks. Today, top performers have reached a balance of 50% of time spent on both sides of the leadership challenge. Although growing more balanced than the trailing performers as measured from 2014 to the present, retail still has a way to go to surpass the typical performers. Observing the power and enablement characteristics for business derived from advanced technologies (such as artificial intelligence [AI], IoT, robotics and others), it’s absolutely critical that retail CIOs grow responsibilities outside of the core IT structure. Without development in this area, retail CIOs will find it highly unlikely that they will accomplish the recommendations noted.
Eighty-four percent of CIOs at top-performing organizations have responsibilities outside of IT, but this drops to 70% for retail. Some retail CIOs are taking on responsibilities for non-IT roles, primarily focusing on the roles of chief digital officer (44%) and innovation (42%). Other less frequent roles include enterprise change (21%), business strategy (16%) and digital sales/eCommerce (22%).

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Category: retail-trends  

Tags: cio  digital  ecommerce  leadership  multichannel  omni-channel  retail  trends  unified-retail-commerce  

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio

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