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Gartner lifts the levers on enterprise growth

Gartner, the IT research and advisory company, has issued its latest top tips on how CIOs can contribute to their companies' top-line growth.

Gartner, the IT research and advisory company, has issued its latest top tips on how CIOs can contribute to their companies' top-line growth.

The report, The Seven Levers of Growth, shows how CIOs and IT departments can enable each of the seven levers, and contribute directly to top-line company growth.

"IS organisations have traditionally been focused and resourced to provide reliable, efficient services to help run their businesses," said Dave Aron, vice president and research director for Gartner EXP. "However, there are opportunities and, in some cases, imperatives for CIOs and their IS organisations to take a greater part in enterprise top-line growth. The challenge is to understand the growth context and organise to contribute to the right growth levers."

The report outlines the "seven levers of growth" for businesses, and gives tips for IT decision-makers on enablement and direct contribution for each lever.

"The CIO must understand where the planned and likely growth levers are, and then ensure that IT assets provide an enabling platform for each lever," Aron said.

According to the report, companies grow by improving operations, innovating products, exploiting channels, targeting customers and markets, acquiring companies, connecting the ecosystem and finding or creating untapped markets. These are the seven levers, and the report says there are methods for IT departments to help the business grow for each of these levers.

For example, operations can improve when operational systems are working well and IT is connecting the business to its customers. In addition, acquisitions move more smoothly where information services (IS) are flexible enough to adapt to the new business, and CIOs create a structure for M&A.

Gartner's report also recommends a change in attitudes for CIOs trying to help their IT departments get ready for growth.

According to the report, CIOs need to guide their IT departments into adopting the mind-set of an IT "venture capitalist", rather than an "order-taker". They also need to clarify enterprise growth levers and identify where IT should contribute, as well as developing deep business knowledge and contributing to business project definition and prioritisation.

"All forms of enterprise growth require support from the IS organisation - at a minimum, to make sure that IT assets aren't in the way of growth. There are often much more direct opportunities for IS to contribute," Aron said. "Although the current macroeconomic environment is the reason growth is high on the agenda, the ‘IT venture capitalist' mind-set is always appropriate, to maximise enterprise growth. CIOs should continually reinforce this message and reward these behaviours in their IS organisation."

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