Peter Sondergaard’s Agenda for CIOs: Here are the Current Major Topics: Security, AI and IT as an Employer

by Yara El-Sabagh

 OUT NOW im #Confare Blog with Peter Sondergaard: Here are the Current Major Topics for CIOs

For many years, Peter Sondergaard was Executive Vice President Research & Advisory of Gartner. After leaving Gartner in 2018, he began his journey in supporting global decision-makers as an analyst and consultant in successfully mastering the challenges of digital transformation.

After an interview between Michael Ghezzo and Peter Sondergaard, a  series of blogs were published exclusively on the #ConfareBlogs. Stay up to date on all Confare Blogs with Peter Sondergaard and many more IT experts by subscribing to ConText Confare lights IT up. Sign up here for free.

You can meet Peter Sondergaard in person at the Confare #CIOSUMMIT in Vienna. We are thrilled to welcome him to the Confare stage. He will be there among several other CIOs from all over the DACH-region in one of the top forums that take place in Austria in the IT sector. You can sign up for the event here.

What would some topics we should discuss with our CIO community?

I think there’s one topic that we haven’t talked about yet. It’s on every CIO’s mind, and you will likely have done something on it anyway: it is security. This is not just about the reactive aspect of security, but also about how the organization as a whole is involved. An important aspect would, for example, be what the executive board is doing about security, which goes beyond just ticking all the boxes in a questionnaire that will be sent to the stock exchange.

How much is AI a CIO topic right now? Do they drive this topic enough or is it more business-driven?

Peter Sondergaard TOP Topics for CIOs todayI think they drive it, but I think it’s a joint in some-, in some organizations, it’s a joint business and IT driven and I think that there’s a true understanding of the value. I think it’s still very top- down driven. And things don’t become pervasive until also you have the broad organization with you in this. Furthermore, data and artificial intelligence is going to be an evolving second topic for your CIOs. They will say that they’re involved in it. However, I think it is more a question of the pervasiveness. How will they take it out of being only in the hands of the data scientists in a particular department into becoming the way how an organization thinks?

Budgets will be a critical topic too, especially with the rise of inflation and energy costs. That is, budgets could be either dealt with in terms of cost optimization or in terms of how much technology budget each department is going to spend. So far, I think most CIOs live comfortably with the fact that marketing actually has a large technology budget. But, can they live comfortably with every department having a large technology budget? I think it will be interesting to see how CIOs  are dealing with that.


As mentioned in our previous conversation there is a change in work environment and how people work for companies. What role does the IT play in making a company an interesting employer?

I think part of this is defined by the flexibility of location. In other words, the architecture of the organization had to be designed for flexibility of location and flexibility of time. Secondly come the flexibility of collaboration and forms of collaboration where digital collaboration is not the only one.

And then, I think the main aspect is to aggressively work on building in-learning and education into software environments that the company has. For example, if you’ve been 20 years in a work environment and haven’t focused on educating yourself, you’re kind of behind. And so, I think it is important to incorporate in-learning and development into the work’s daily environment. Additionally, this will have a lot to do with building in artificial intelligence into the work activities that are considered trivial. We’ve often had this image of artificial intelligence being the killer of jobs. I think, maybe, this shift to artificial intelligence can be the killer of boring tasks, which most of us would anyway prefer to delegate.

The CIO now is confronted with an extremely diverse digitization agenda. What would be your recommendations for the right priorities a CIO has to set?

I think part of this is to very clearly link digitalization to the business’s strategy or the strategy articulated for the organization whether public or private business. After having linked things to the strategy, the next stage will be to very clearly get a governance to execute. As we all know, the biggest challenge for many organizations is to actually execute a strategy where digital is part And I fear that many CIOs don’t think through the execution part of the digital strategy sufficiently and have not worked through the governance aspects of it. There is a lack in ensure that everybody that needs to be involved in the organization is actually involved close enough in a way that allows for execution to happen. Ultimately, the execution has to be measured up against the required KPIs or a measurement criteria for the organization.

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