CIOs will be as influential as HR when it comes to culture, says Gartner

CIOs will be as influential as HR when it comes to culture, says Gartner
A lot of CIOs have realized that culture can be an accelerator of digital transformation, says Olding.
Published: 12 March 2019 - 12:51 p.m.
By: Mark Sutton

Gartner says that CIOs will become as influential as HR in creating culture change in their organisations.

The analyst company says that IT leaders can set the tone of organisational culture and shape work behaviours through their choice of technology. By closer engagement with HR, IT can develop technology and process design decisions which will foster desired organisational culture.

By 2021, Gartner says that the CIO will be as responsible for culture change as chief HR officers (CHROs).

Elise Olding, research vice president at Gartner, commented: “A lot of CIOs have realized that culture can be an accelerator of digital transformation and that they have the means to reinforce a desired culture through their technology choices. A partnership with the CHRO is the perfect way to align technology selections and design processes to shape the desired work behaviours.”

Gartner said that the mission and values of an organisation usually fall into the remit of HR. The partnership between IT and HR can shed light on how IT can make technology and process design decisions that foster the intention of the desired organisational culture. Enterprise architecture can adopt principles that align to the cultural traits, and when business analysts design processes they can create them with the intended traits in mind. Hence, IT supports the way an organisation behaves in cooperation with HR.

However, culture change is a process. This means that there will be barriers to digital initiatives — in peoples’ mindsets and practices.

“A great way to jump-start culture change and enable adoption of new technologies and processes is the culture hack. Start with a small, motivated user group and use it to showcase fast wins and results,” Olding said.

Gartner also noted the importance of culture to enabling – or being a barrier to – digital transformation. By 2021, 80% of mid- to large-size companies will change their culture as part of efforts to accelerate their digital transformation strategies. Sixty-seven percent of companies have already begun or completed these cultural shifts, many after identifying organisational culture as a barrier to change.

“In 50% of cases, transformational initiatives are clear failures and CIOs report that the main barrier is culture,” said Christie Struckman , research vice president at Gartner. “The logical conclusion is that CIOs should start with culture change when they embark on digital transformation, not wait to address it later.”

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