The latest Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey has found the business climate right for IT investment to drive business development.
The survey showed CEOs are looking for new leaders to drive innovation, but traditional IT leader roles are becoming less important.
The study was based on a survey of more than 390 senior business leaders in organisations worldwide, conducted between October and December 2012.
"IT has been broadly asked to keep everything efficient and worry about cost – now business leaders are looking for an entrepreneurial change – and doing this by appointing new leaders," said Mark Raskino, research director at Gartner.
"After more than a decade of modest investment and sorting out the basics, it's time to think ahead. Business leaders tell us they recognise the need to invest in e-commerce, mobile, cloud, social and other major technology categories, and the capabilities they enable. That can't be done from within existing IT budgets alone.
"A number of organisations are already making new, very big bets in information and technology innovation that run to hundreds of millions of dollars of fresh investment.
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"The greater risk now is assuming that your lacklustre technology capability can remain a 'back-burner' issue for another couple of years."
The study found the proportion of executives that said they had a digital strategy was bigger than expected. According to Raskino, about 30% said their digital strategy was integrated with business strategy.
"This is important because the idea of a digital strategy gathering a lot of pace with business leaders," said Raskino.
Worryingly, the role of head of IT or IT director showed a big fall in the organisations that participated. Raskino said this showed there was a lower emphasis on back-office technology focus. The CIO is perceived as a business leader.
Although the economy is now booming, there are no real surprises. Raskino said CEOs feel they now have a clear plan. More than three-quarters of the CEOs surveyed said they felt confident to plan.
“It looks like business leaders can make some decisions. They are in a better position to execute on business plans," said Raskino.