A new survey by Gartner has revealed that 70 percent of Australian and New Zealand organisations are still evolving their digital business foundations, yet only a quarter have made digital initiatives a top business priority for 2019.

The Gartner 2019 CIO Agenda survey also revealed that cost reduction is a bigger priority this year than it was last year for ANZ organisations. It moved from 10th position to third place. The survey results suggests that flat IT budget growth of 1.5 per cent in ANZ in 2019 is hindering on organisations’ ability to meet leading digital initiatives.
Gartner executive programs vice president Brian Ferreira said digital resilience will be required for ANZ organisations evolving toward digital business maturity this year, particularly during uncertain times with limited budgets to make short-term investment decisions.

“CIOs must step up to lead their enterprises through a year of predicted tightening economic conditions, competition from digital giants and political volatility. It’s more important than ever to maintain momentum during times of uncertainty, not only for digital business transformation, but also for long-term business viability,” he said.

According to the survey, the top five areas that ANZ CIOs plans to invest new or additional in 2019 are in business intelligence and data analytics (54 percent); cybersecurity (40 percent); core system improvements and transformation (34 percent); cloud solutions (32 percent); and customer experience (31 percent).

Artificial intelligence is also on the radar of ANZ CIOs. The survey showed 77 percent are already using AI technology for process optimisation, chatbots, and computer-assisted diagnostics, mainly because 27 percent of ANZ CIOs believe AI will be the most disruptive technology for organisations in 2019.

“The rapid shift to AI looks revolutionary on the surface, but ANZ CIOs aren’t very innovative in creating uses for AI,” Ferreira said. “They need to experiment more to identify a greater range of uses within their organisation if they’re going to keep up with the innovators and disruptors in the market who invest more in it.”