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4 Must-Read CIO Reports in 2021

Cio reports

The right CIO reports can offer excellent research and insights into CIO trends, the state of IT, future forecasts, and more.

Since IT has become such a powerful force in the modern business, keeping tabs on technology trends is essential for CIOs, as well as other C-suite executives who are involved in strategic decision-making.

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Below, we’ll look at a few of the most informative reports that cover the state of the CIO, digital technology, and the technology-driven organization.

Must-Read CIO Reports in 2021

Here are a few of the best reports to review in 2021:

2021 State of the CIO

IDG is the company behind, almost certainly the most recognized and authoritative online resource for CIOs.

Their annual report, the State of the CIO, offers research specifically on the CIO office.

For instance, here are a few highlights from their 2021 State of the CIO report, much of which focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • 81% of CIOs increased their focus on IT innovation to accommodate remote work
  • 82% say they have implemented new technologies, IT strategies, and/or methodologies due to the pandemic
  • In the next three years, activities CIOs plan to focus on include driving business innovation (38%), developing and refining business strategy (31%), and implementing new systems and architecture (30%)
  • 96% of CIOs say their role is expanding beyond IT responsibilities

Statistics such as these show clear trends that will naturally be of interest to any enterprise with a CIO office. 

This last trend, for instance, demonstrates a clear evolution in the CIO role that has been ongoing for some time. 

IDG, however, is only one among many research firms that has observed this trend. Gartner is another, and their CIO reports are also must-reads.

Gartner’s 2021 CIO Agenda

Gartner’s 2021 CIO Agenda report also underscores the impact of the pandemic on the office of the CIO.

For some time, Gartner has been pointing out that the CIO’s role has been expanding, as mentioned above. Their 2021 CIO Agenda report also emphasizes this, noting that this trend has been especially accelerated by the pandemic.

For instance, as a result of the pandemic:

  • 66% report an increased strength of the CIO-CEO relationship
  • 70% of CIOs assumed leadership of high-impact initiatives 
  • 80% of CIOs are educating CEOs and other senior stakeholders on the value of IT
  • 76% of CIOs reported an increased demand for digital products and services during the pandemic

This report clearly focuses on CIOs and the impact of COVID-19. Yet this is only one of many useful reports that come from Gartner.

Other useful reports focus on practical actions and advice for CIOs, such as their report, The 5 Conversations CIOs Must Have to Support Digital Business Acceleration.

Yet other reports focus on future predictions and trends, such as their report, Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021.

TCS 2020 CIO Study

Another excellent CIO report from Tata Consultancy Services is their 2020 CIO study, which examined the role that CIOs play in digital transformation.

They found, among other things, that the most successful firms offer more responsibility when it comes to designing and leading digital transformation efforts. 

For example, their report found that:

  • 75% of CIOs played a role in the ideation/strategy of digital transformation efforts
  • 61% played a role in governance
  • The most successful firms in their study tended to allow CIOs to take charge of digital transformation initiatives (73%), while the least successful did not (50%)

The findings from their reports also suggested that CIOs should be allowed to spend more time on innovation and less time on traditional IT service management (ITSM).

In the most successful companies in their survey, for example, CIOs spent more time on digital business model innovation (63%) compared to legacy IT maintenance (37%). The least successful companies, on the other hand, showed the opposite tendency (43% and 57% respectively).

Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2020

Another extensive research report is the Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey 2020. This report offers a range of insights into the pandemic and its impact on CIOs.

Here are a few examples of findings from this report:

  • 54% of organizations felt that a skills shortage held them back during COVID-19
  • 24% of organizations felt that more than half of their organizations would work from home post-COVID, versus 6% that felt none of their workers would telecommute
  • 70% felt that the pandemic permanently resulted in increased collaboration between technology leaders and business leaders
  • 41% have experienced more cybersecurity incidents during the pandemic
  • Due to the pandemic, the most important technology investments included security and privacy, customer experience and engagement, and infrastructure / cloud

This report concludes by offering actionable recommendations based on four economic recovery patterns that respondent organizations are likely to undergo after the pandemic. 


All of the reports covered in this post, including this one, are essential reading for the modern CIO. Making good business decisions, after all, requires good information.For more useful CIO resources, check out our article that covers the best CIO blogs and websites.

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