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CIO Priorities 2023

Engage cross-functional leadership to seize opportunity while protecting the organization from volatility.

CIOs are facing these challenges in 2023:

  • Trying to understand the implications of external trends.
  • Determining what capabilities are most important to support the organization.
  • Understanding how to help the organization pursue new opportunities.
  • Preparing to mitigate new sources of organizational risk.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • While functional leaders may only see their next move, as head of the organization with a complete view of all the pieces, the CIO has full context awareness. It's up to them to assess their gaps, consider the present scenario, and then make their next move.
  • Each priority carries new opportunities for organizations that pursue them.
  • There are also different risks to mitigate as each priority is explored.

Impact and Result

  • Inform your IT strategy for the year ahead.
  • Identify which capabilities you need to improve.
  • Add initiatives that support your priorities to your roadmap.

CIO Priorities 2023 Research & Tools

1. CIO Priorities 2023 Report – Read about the priorities on IT leaders' agenda.

Understand the five priorities that will help navigate the opportunities and risks of the year ahead.

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Brian was able to share with us a better understanding of what our peers are doing in 2023 and this is helping us to shape our priorities now and t... Read More

CIO Priorities 2023

Engage cross-functional leadership to seize opportunity while protecting the organization from volatility.

Analyst Perspective

Take a full view of the board and use all your pieces to win.

In our Tech Trends 2023 report, we called on CIOs to think of themselves as chess grandmasters. To view strategy as playing both sides of the board, simultaneously attacking the opponent's king while defending your own. In our CIO Priorities 2023 report, we'll continue with that metaphor as we reflect on IT's capability to respond to trends.

If the trends report is a study of the board state that CIOs are playing with, the priorities report is about what move they should make next. We must consider all the pieces we have at our disposal and determine which ones we can afford to use to seize on opportunity. Other pieces are best used by staying put to defend their position.

In examining the different capabilities that CIOs will require to succeed in the year ahead, it's apparent that a siloed view of IT isn't going to work. Just like a chess player in a competitive match would never limit themselves to only using their knights or their rooks, a CIO's responsibility is to deploy each of their pieces to win the day. While functional leaders may only see their next move, as head of the organization with a complete view of all the pieces, the CIO has full awareness of the board state.

It's up to them to assess their gaps, consider the present scenario, and then make their next move.

This is a picture of Brian Jackson

Brian Jackson
Principal Research Director, Research – CIO
Info-Tech Research Group

CIO Priorities 2023 is informed by Info-Tech's primary research data of surveys and benchmarks

Info-Tech's Tech Trends 2023 report and State of Hybrid Work in IT: A Trend Report inform the externalities faced by organizations in the year ahead. They imply opportunities and risks that organizations face. Leadership must determine if they will respond and how to do so. CIOs then determine how to support those responses by creating or improving their IT capabilities. The priorities are the initiatives that will deliver the most value across the capabilities that are most in demand. The CIO Priorities 2023 report draws on data from several different Info-Tech surveys and diagnostic benchmarks.

2023 Tech Trends and Priorities Survey; N=813 (partial), n=521 (completed)
Info-Tech's Trends and Priorities 2023 Survey was conducted between August 9 and September 9, 2022. We received 813 total responses with 521 completed surveys. More than 90% of respondents work in IT departments. More than 84% of respondents are at a manager level of seniority or higher.

2023 The State of Hybrid Work in IT Survey; N=518
The State of Hybrid Work in IT Survey was conducted between July 11 and July 29 and received 518 responses. Nine in ten respondents were at a manager level of seniority or higher.

Every organization will have its own custom list of priorities based on its internal context. Organizational goals, IT maturity level, and effectiveness of capabilities are some of the important factors to consider. To provide CIOs with a starting point for their list of priorities for 2023, we used aggregate data collected in our diagnostic benchmark tools between August 1, 2021, and October 31, 2022.

Info-Tech's CEO-CIO Alignment Program is intended to be completed by CIOs and their supervisors (CEO or other executive position [CxO]) and will provide the average maturity level and budget expectations (N=107). The IT Management and Governance Diagnostic will provide the average capability effectiveness and importance ranking to CIOs (N=271). The CIO Business Vision Diagnostic will provide stakeholder satisfaction feedback (N=259).

The 2023 CIO priorities are based on that data, internal collaboration sessions at Info-Tech, and external interviews with CIOs and subject matter experts.

Build IT alignment

Assess your IT processes

Determine stakeholder satisfaction

Most IT departments should aim to drive outcomes that deliver better efficiency and cost savings

Slightly more than half of CIOs using Info-Tech's CEO-CIO Alignment Program rated themselves at a Support level of maturity in 2022. That aligns with IT professionals' view of their organizations from our Tech Trends and Priorities Survey, where organizations are rated at the Support level on average. At this level, IT departments can provide reliable infrastructure and support a responsive IT service desk that reasonably satisfies stakeholders.

In the future, CIOs aspire to attain the Transform level of maturity. Nearly half of CIOs select this future state in our diagnostic, indicating a desire to deliver reliable innovation and lead the organization to become a technology-driven firm. However, we see that fewer CxOs aspire for that level of maturity from IT. CxOs are more likely than CIOs to say that IT should aim for the Optimize level of maturity. At this level, IT will help other departments become more efficient and lower costs across the organization.

Whether a CIO is aiming for the top of the maturity scale in the future or not, IT maturity is achieved one step at a time. Aiming for outcomes at the Optimize level will be a realistic goal for most CIOs in 2023 and will satisfy many stakeholders.

Current and future state of IT maturity

This image depicts a table showing the Current and future states of IT maturity.

Trends indicate a need to focus on leadership and change management

Trends imply new opportunities and risks that an organization must decide on. Organizational leadership determines if action will be taken to respond to the new external context based on its importance compared to current internal context. To support their organizations, IT must use its capabilities to deliver on initiatives. But if a capability's effectiveness is poor, it could hamper the effort.

To determine what capabilities IT departments may need to improve or create to support their organizations in 2023, we conducted an analysis of our trends data. Using the opportunities and risks implied by the Tech Trends 2023 report and the State of Hybrid Work in IT: A Trend Report, we've determined the top capabilities IT will need to respond. Capabilities are defined by Info-Tech's IT Management and Governance Framework.

Tier 1: The Most Important Capabilities In 2023

Enterprise Application Selection & Implementation

Manage the selection and implementation of enterprise applications, off-the-shelf software, and software as a service to ensure that IT provides the business with the most appropriate applications at an acceptable cost.

Effectiveness: 6.5; Importance: 8.8

Leadership, Culture, and Values

Ensure that the IT department reflects the values of your organization. Improve the leadership skills of your team to generate top performance.

Effectiveness: 6.9; Importance: 9

Data Architecture

Manage the business' databases, including the technology, the governance processes, and the people that manage them. Establish the principles, policies, and guidelines relevant to the effective use of data within the organization.

Effectiveness: 6.3; Importance: 8.8

Organizational Change Management

Implement or optimize the organization's capabilities for managing the impact of new business processes, new IT systems, and changes in organizational structure or culture.

Effectiveness: 6.1; Importance: 8.8

External Compliance

Ensure that IT processes and IT-supported business processes are compliant with laws, regulations, and contractual requirements.

Effectiveness: 7.4; Importance: 8.8

Info-Tech's Management and Diagnostic Benchmark

Tier 2: Other Important Capabilities In 2023

Ten more capabilities surfaced as important compared to others but not as important as the capabilities in tier 1.

Asset Management

Track IT assets through their lifecycle to make sure that they deliver value at optimal cost, remain operational, and are accounted for and physically protected. Ensure that the assets are reliable and available as needed.

Effectiveness: 6.4; Importance: 8.5

Business Intelligence and Reporting

Develop a set of capabilities, including people, processes, and technology, to enable the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for the purpose of business analysis.

Effectiveness: 6.3; Importance: 8.8

Business Value

Secure optimal value from IT-enabled initiatives, services, and assets by delivering cost-efficient solutions and services and by providing a reliable and accurate picture of costs and benefits.

Effectiveness: 6.5; Importance: 8.7

Cost and Budget Management

Manage the IT-related financial activities and prioritize spending through the use of formal budgeting practices. Provide transparency and accountability for the cost and business value of IT solutions and services.

Effectiveness: 6.5; Importance: 8.8

Data Quality

Put policies, processes, and capabilities in place to ensure that appropriate targets for data quality are set and achieved to match the needs of the business.

Effectiveness: 6.4; Importance: 8.9

Enterprise Architecture

Establish a management practice to create and maintain a coherent set of principles, methods, and models that are used in the design and implementation of the enterprise's business processes, information systems, and infrastructure.

Effectiveness: 6.8; Importance: 8.8

IT Organizational Design

Set up the structure of IT's people, processes, and technology as well as roles and responsibilities to ensure that it's best meeting the needs of the business.

Effectiveness: 6.8; Importance: 8.8

Performance Measurement

Manage IT and process goals and metrics. Monitor and communicate that processes are performing against expectations and provide transparency for performance and conformance.

Effectiveness: 6; Importance: 8.4

Stakeholder Relations

Manage the relationship between the business and IT to ensure that the stakeholders are satisfied with the services they need from IT and have visibility into IT processes.

Effectiveness: 6.7; Importance: 9.2

Vendor Management

Manage IT-related services provided by all suppliers, including selecting suppliers, managing relationships and contracts, and reviewing and monitoring supplier performance.

Effectiveness: 6.6; Importance: 8.4

Defining the CIO Priorities for 2023

Understand the CIO priorities by analyzing both how CIOs respond to trends in general and how a specific CIO responded in the context of their organization.

This is an image of the four analyses: 1: Implications; 2: Opportunities and risks; 3: Case examples; 4: Priorities to action.

The Five CIO Priorities for 2023

Engage cross-functional leadership to seize opportunity while protecting the organization from volatility.

  1. Adjust IT operations to manage for inflation
    • Business Value
    • Vendor Management
    • Cost and Budget Management
  2. Prepare your data pipeline to train AI
    • Business Intelligence and Reporting
    • Data Quality
    • Data Architecture
  3. Go all in on zero-trust security
    • Asset Management
    • Stakeholder Relations
    • External Compliance
  4. Engage employees in the digital age
    • Leadership, Culture, and Values
    • Organizational Change Management
    • Enterprise Architecture
  5. Shape the IT organization to improve customer experience
    • Enterprise Application Selection & Implementation
    • Performance Measurement
    • IT Organizational Design

Adjust IT operations to manage for inflation

Priority 01

  • APO06 Cost and Budget Management
  • APo10 Vendor Management
  • EDM02 Business Value

Recognize the relative impact of higher inflation on IT's spending power and adjust accordingly.

Inflation takes a bite out of the budget

Two-thirds of IT professionals are expecting their budgets to increase in 2023, according to our survey. But not every increase is keeping up with the pace of inflation. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that global inflation rose to 8.8% in 2022. It projects it will decline to 6.5% in 2023 and 4.1% by 2024 (IMF, 2022).

CIOs must account for the impact of inflation on their IT budgets and realize that what looks like an increase on paper is effectively a flat budget or worse. Applied to our survey takers, an IT budget increase of more than 6.5% would be required to keep pace with inflation in 2023. Only 40% of survey takers are expecting that level of increase. For the 27% expecting an increase between 1-5%, they are facing an effective decrease in budget after the impact of inflation. Those expecting no change in budget or a decrease will be even worse off.

Looking ahead to 2023, how do you anticipate your IT spending will change compared to spending in 2022?

Global inflation estimates by year

2022 8.8%
2023 6.5%
2024 4.1%

International Monetary Fund, 2022

Engage cross-functional leadership to seize opportunity while protecting the organization from volatility.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.


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