Every year, Deloitte conducts a global survey of CIOs at companies across industries with the goal of understanding how those CIOs operate, and accordingly how their companies are performing in the digital space.

As Deloitte points out in their 2018 survey, “Manifesting legacy: Looking beyond the digital era,” the role of the CIO as a “trusted operator”–an operationally-focused expert centered mostly around technology efficiency–is diminishing, or at least they think it should. In their place, they see CIOs taking on roles as “business cocreators” and “change instigators.” Deloitte calls companies viewed as leaders in digital and emerging technologies digital vanguards.

Curious why digital leadership and digital transformation are so important? You need not look any further than the results of this year’s survey.

According to Deloitte, only 10% of CIOs work for digital vanguard organizations–“leaders in aligning technology and digital business strategies that may serve as role models.” Of the companies surveyed:

  • 87% perceived their IT as a fast follower, laggard, or delinquent
  • 42% said their organization has limited or no digital strategy
  • Just 9.7% of all organizations–the vanguards–have a digital strategy and are perceived as a market leader

Clearly, not every company can be a market leader. But we find it staggering that so many organizations still have a limited or no digital strategy, and that so many perceived their IT as behind the curve.

So: how to fix it? Deloitte recommends three approaches:

  • Look inward to break the ‘trusted operator’ mold and think about other ways to build out IT functions across the organization
  • Look across the organization and transform it
  • Look beyond emerging technologies and consider how the company’s tech foundation may need to be modernized and revamped for success moving forward

The overall key described by Deloitte is one in which the CIO and his or her employees think beyond IT as an isolated operation and instead consider the myriad ways that digital transformation must take place across the organization. It’s no easy task, but with organizations becoming increasingly digital, it’s a necessary one.

So: what’s holding you back from digital transformation? If you’re one of the companies in the laggard category without a comprehensive digital strategy, there’s no better time to get started on changing than today.