As simple, implemental growth becomes harder to achieve, organizations are concentrating on changing and upgrading the structure of their companies, including a deeper understanding of digital business, according to a report from Gartner.

The research firm surveyed 460 CEOs and other senior business executives in the fourth quarter of 2017, and about two thirds (62%) said their organization has a management initiative or transformation program to make their business more digital. Of those organizations, 54% said their digital business objective is transformational while 46% said the objective of the initiative is optimization.

CEOs' use of the word "digital" has been steadily rising, Gartner said. When asked to describe their top five business priorities, the number of respondents mentioning the word digital at least once has risen from 2% in a 2012 survey to 13% in 2018. This positive attitude toward digital business is backed up by CEOs' continuing intent to invest in IT, the report said, with 61% of respondents saying they intend to increase spending on IT in 2018.

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About one third plan to make no changes to spending and only 7% foresee spending cuts.

"Although growth remains the CEO's biggest priority, there was a significant fall in simple mentions of it this year, from 58% in 2017 to just 40% in 2018,” said Mark Raskino, vice president of Gartner. “This does not mean CEOs are less focused on growth. Instead it shows that they are shifting perspective on how to obtain it."

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Bob Violino

Bob Violino

Bob Violino is a freelance technology and business writer who covers a variety of topics, including big data and analytics, cloud computing, information security and mobile technology.