Organizations that conduct long-range planning of five to 15 years are more likely to outperform organizations that don’t plan ahead, according to Gartner Inc.'s 2015 survey of CEOs and senior business executives. Moreover, overperforming companies tend to lean more heavily on CIOs during the long-term planning process.

“Long-term strategic planning can lead to benefits,” Steve Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow, said in a statement. "More than 50% of organizations that underperformed did not engage in very long-term planning, and those that did looked out on average 16 years. In the case of the outperforming companies, over 80% carried out planning that was very long term, and they looked even further ahead—a mean of 22 years.”

Strategic planning is a collaborative exercise for organizations’ senior management and directors, and a Gartner survey of 400 senior business leaders worldwide, conducted in the fourth quarter of 2014, showed that the CFO is the primary choice of partner by far for the CEO. Overall, almost 40% of respondents named the CFO as either the first, second or third choice of partner for the CEO.

The next most popular choices were the chief strategy officer (27%) and the board of directors (26%). The CIO was named as first, second or third choice by only 17% of respondents, behind chief marketing officer (18%), chief operating officer (20%), chairman (20%) and president/owner (23%).

The CFO is the primary choice for both underperforming and outperforming organizations, Gartner says.

Where Are The Tech Leaders?

Overperforming organizations tend to increase the contribution of more technical roles, such as CIO, CTO, chief innovation officer, chief risk officer and chief digital officer.

"For CIOs to be seen as key contributors and advisors regarding the changes and disruptions that technology brings, they must seriously assess their position internally," Prentice said. "They should position themselves as informed and objective innovators who understand the disruptive role technology will play in business over the next 10 to 20 years, and who can make an essential contribution to long-term and very long-term planning activities within their organization.”

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