Why CIOs must become CHROs for successful digital transformation

By 2021, CIOs will need to morph into chief HR officers to effectively change their company's culture, according to a Gartner report.

Why inclusion is necessary for digital transformation At the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration, Julie Elberfeld of Capital One discussed why companies must focus on diversity to reap the benefits of digital.

In the next two years, CIOs will be tasked with changing company culture, adopting the title of chief HR officers (CHROs), according to a Gartner report released on Monday. Setting the values and cultural missions of an organization typically falls on the HR representative, but partnering IT and HR together may help uncover more efficient strategies for completing the same goals, the report noted.

The union of IT and HR can help create business processes that align with the desired company culture, the report said. However, cultural change won't be achieved quickly or easily, so companies should start small, said Elise Olding, research vice president at Gartner, in a press release.

SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)

In the next two years, 80% of midsize to large companies will shift their culture in a way that propels their digital transformation efforts, the report found. The majority of organizations (67%) are in the process of completing cultural change, or have already finished. Many of these initiatives were fueled by the desire to complete digital transformations, as company culture had previously been a barrier, the report added.

"In 50 percent of cases, transformational initiatives are clear failures and CIOs report that the main barrier is culture," said Christie Struckman, research vice president at Gartner, in the release. "The logical conclusion is that CIOs should start with culture change when they embark on digital transformation, not wait to address it later."

Efforts to change company culture will also be present in diversity and inclusion initiatives, the report found. By 2022, nearly 75% of businesses with decision-making teams that prioritize a diversity and inclusion culture will surpass their financial targets, Gartner predicted. To make quick and effective frontline decisions, teams must have a diverse set of minds, the report added, which is why diversity and inclusion efforts will increase in the enterprise.

Diversity and inclusion is necessary for the success of digital transformation efforts, as the wide array of backgrounds and mindsets can bring new ideas and thoughts to the table. To learn how to be more inclusive in your organization, check out this TechRepublic article.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • CIOs will shift their roles to chief HR officers (CHROs) in the next couple years, in order to effectively align company culture with IT goals. — Gartner, 2019
  • Diversity and inclusion is necessary for the success of digital transformation initiatives. — Gartner, 2019

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By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.