Top-performing companies, on average, spend a much greater share of their IT budgets on digital initiatives than government organizations, according to a global survey of CIOs by Gartner Inc.

According to the new study, leading corporations spend as much as 33 percent of their IT budgets on digital efforts, while that number drops to 21 percent for government agencies. Looking ahead to 2018, top-performing organizations anticipate spending 43 percent of their IT budgets on digitalization, compared with 28 percent for government CIOs, the firm said.

The Gartner report, "2017 CIO Agenda," surveyed 2,598 CIOs from 93 countries, including 377 government CIOs in 38 countries.
Government CIOs in 2017 “have an urgent obligation to look beyond their own organizations and benchmark themselves against top-performing peers within the public sector and from other service industries,” said Rick Howard, research vice president at Gartner.

“They must commit to pursuing actions that result in immediate and measurable improvements that citizens recognize and appreciate," Howard said.

In fairness, government CIOs as a group anticipate a 1.4 percent average increase in their IT budgets, compared with an average 2.2 percent increase across all industries. Local government CIOs fare better, averaging 3.5 percent growth, which is still more than 1 percent less on average than IT budget growth among top-performing organizations overall (4.6 percent).

"Whatever the financial outlook may be, government CIOs who aspire to join the group of top performers must justify growth in the IT budget by clearly connecting all investments to lowering the business costs of government and improving the performance of government programs," Howard said.

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