The Gartner CEO and Senior Executive Survey of more than 390 senior business leaders in organizations worldwide with annual revenue of $250 million or more was conducted between October and December 2012. Of those, 78 were from the Asia Pacific region including Japan.
"It is interesting that the Asia Pacific region, long seen anecdotally as more conservative in leveraging technology and driving innovation, has overtaken the global average of CEOs (26%) who describe their company cultures as being pioneering in the adoption of innovation," said Gartner vice-president and distinguished analyst Partha Iyengar.
"This means a larger number of CEOs than we would anecdotally expect are willing to take risks in the adoption of technology to get first-mover advantage. Half of them are focusing on creating a 'digital strategy' for their enterprises."
Gartner's 2013 CEO and senior executive survey paints a picture of a region that is focused and optimistic about growth prospects, even in light of uncertain economic conditions.
An overwhelming 69% of CEOs say that their plans for investment and growth in 2013 and 2014 are fairly clear and strong despite uncertain economic conditions. CEOs are targeting different customer requirements, new technology-driven capabilities and new geographies. Increasing investment areas in 2013 are product enhancement, IT and marketing.
There is also an expectation of an expanded role for IT in supporting this growth. CEOs foresee an 11% increase in the presence of the CIO role within their enterprises by the end of 2014. This is accompanied by an almost identical drop (12%) in the "head of IT" title within enterprises, possibly signifying that CEOs intend to elevate this role to full CxO status, with a seat at the executive table. Additionally, 31% of CEOs see themselves taking on a more direct role in technology-related issues, in addition to the CIO.
According to the survey, almost 70% of Asia Pacific CEOs believe they have a good understanding of IT-related management issues
"This is also surprisingly high," said Iyengar. "It bodes well for CIOs in their quest to increase the strategic impact IT has within the enterprise. However, it could also be a dangerous situation for CIOs who do not have strong business leadership credentials. Technology-savvy CEOs will be quite impatient to see their CIOs deliver IT-driven business impact, and will not hesitate to make personnel changes if they are unable to do so.