(Image credit/Pixabay/StartupStockPhotos)New research from Adobe has shown European CIOs are key to virtually every major business initiative in today’s digital economy. The research indicates 76% say they feel pressure to digitally transform their business. For the research, Adobe surveyed more than 150 CIOs from across Europe. It found at least three-quarters say that within the last twelve months, their role has expanded and responsibilities have increased. Respondents say they have greater influence on leadership decisions in their organisation.

Despite the enormous weight on our shoulders, CIOs are stepping up to the challenge,” says Cynthia Stoddard, CIO at Adobe.  “Along with other business leaders, we have accepted our new responsibilities and increasing amount of influence. Furthermore, we are working more closely with our peers to thrive in the digital-first reality we are all living in.

Enablers of the digital-first economy

The research also revealed that European CIOs have become the enablers of their company’s customer experience. An impressive 67% say managing customer experiences is now a primary priority of their job. Despite all the other responsibilities on their shoulders.

Credit image/LinkedIn/Cynthia Stoddard)
Cynthia Stoddard, CIO at Adobe

Digital customer experiences have improved significantly in the past year, but they have also become more complex,” continued Stoddard. “CIOs need to support these services with technologies teams need to capture customer data, convert that data into valuable insight. Furthermore, use that insight to shape increasingly personalised experiences.

Data and connectivity are the lifeblood of a modern business. CIOs are increasingly becoming the gatekeepers of data-driven decision-makers of digital initiative’s brands are adopting today. Among the many priorities CIOs must juggle include, data security and privacy rank high. According to the survey, 36% of European CIOs singled out security and privacy as areas for increased investment in 2021.

CIOs and CMOs form power duos

With teams directly involved in shaping the customer experience, CIOs regularly partner with peers to take digital experiences from concept to reality. Indeed, IT leaders regularly collaborate with two or more C-level colleagues on customer experience management (CXM) initiatives.

Of these relationships, the strongest is now with the CMO. According to the research, 90% of European CIOs strongly agree that partnering with the CMO improves their organisation’s customer experience. Similarly, 86% say that working closely with CMOs promotes innovation. As a result, nearly two thirds (64%) of CIOs now meet with their CMO counterpart on a daily or weekly basis.

Drivers of employee experience

Customer experience is the top focus for CIOs. The new “work from anywhere” environment has evolved CIO’s priorities to be first and foremost, employees and then customers. In partnership with the CMO, CIOs are learning to leverage external customer journey management practices. They are applying the same principles internally to enhance their own employees’ experiences.

83% of European CIOs see themselves as change agents who play a role in improving the culture of their organisation. In addition, three quarters said they feel the pressure is on them to digitally transform their business. At least 2 in 5 CIOs foresee a hybrid working approach, with organisations focusing more on productivity than time measures. This allows employees to have flexible work hours to handle personal needs.

There is a proven correlation between happy employees, satisfied customers and overall business success. It’s critical that CIOs prioritise any systems or business processes that improve collaboration and overall employee experience,” Stoddard concluded.


Research was conducted by Advanis. The European sample is part of a global study of 506 CIOs from the US, UK, France, Germany, India, Australia and Singapore. Respondents completed the survey online. To qualify, the participants had to be the CIO of a company with at least 100 employees. Research was conducted between February 18th to March 4th 2021.

Enterprise Times: What this means for businesses?

It is not surprising that CIOs are centre stage in the decision-making process of digital initiatives in businesses. Adobe’s research confirms CIOs taking on new responsibilities and forming closer relationships with CMOs to improve customer and employee experiences.

COVID-19 has accelerated the digital plans of many enterprises irrespective of size or sector. Organisations are now more focused on using digital channel efforts to make customer interaction more savvy, engaging & transparent. The CIO is the best person to meet these challenges and develop the approach to decide the future innovations. But they face a continuous requests to use emerging technologies. In addition to keep on inventing new IT innovations to make the entire business process agile. CIOs are carrying the major responsibility of driving technological change. Those who are not willing to take the challenge to transform their business processes, always carries a risk of becoming an ordinary player in their industry.



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