Gartner EXP Outlines How CIOs Can Drive Enterprise Revenue Through Seven Levers of Growth

STAMFORD, Conn., July 16, 2007 � Enterprises grow the top line through seven growth levers, and chief information officers (CIOs) must enable that growth through IT assets and the IS organization�s skills and behaviors, according to Gartner Executive Programs (EXP), a unit of Gartner, Inc. To consistently achieve top-line growth, CIOs need to adopt a growth-oriented mind-set.

In the Gartner EXP report �The Seven Levers of Growth,� analysts examine how CIOs can best contribute to the top-line growth of their enterprise. The report also details how CIOs and IS organizations must provide an enabling platform for each of the seven growth levers and focus on contributing more directly to remain relevant.

�IS organizations 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 organizations to take a greater part in enterprise top-line growth. The CIO must focus on exploiting these opportunities just as a venture capitalist makes investments � applying scarce IT assets, IS staff and credibility resources based on value. The challenge is to understand the growth context and organize to contribute to the right growth levers.�

Enterprises grow in many ways, including improved marketing, the introduction of new products, entering new markets, acquiring or merging with other companies and even creation of completely new businesses through corporate venturing (see Table 1). �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,� Mr. Aron said.

Table 1 – Seven Levers of Growth, and CIO and IS Enablement Challenges and Contribution Opportunities
Source: Gartner Executive Programs (July 2007)


CIO/IS Enablement

CIO/IS Direct Contribution

Improve Operations

Strengthen operational systems

Connect to customers

Innovate Products

Provide flexibility in enterprise applications

“Informate” products

Exploit Channels

Architect for multiple channels

Exploit electronic channels

Target Customers and Markets

Build scalable infrastructure and applications

Integrate external information

Acquire Companies

Ensure agility to absorb targets’ business 

Create an M&A playbook

Connect the Ecosystem

Build a plug-and-play architecture

Bring the ecosystem with you

Create Blue Oceans

Provide innovation and collaboration tools

Innovate the business from IS

Gartner EXP said there are four recommended behaviors for CIOs to gear up for growth. They include:

  • Clarify enterprise growth levers and where IS should contribute.
  • Build deep business knowledge and behavioral capabilities in IS, and contribute proactively to business project definition and prioritization.
  • Go beyond conventional project management, and participate in good benefits realization practices, throughout the benefits life cycle.
  • Mentor the IS organization to move from a mind-set of “order taker” to a mind-set of the IT venture capitalist � “challenging the value” of IT investments.

�All forms of enterprise growth require support from the IS organization � 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,� Mr. 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 maximize enterprise growth. CIOs should continually reinforce this message and reward these behaviors in their IS organization.�

About Gartner EXP

Gartner Executive Programs (EXP) is a membership-based organization of more than 3,600 CIOs worldwide. Designed to enhance CIO productivity and professional development, Gartner EXP provides a single source of research expertise, one-to-one counsel and the shared intelligence of thousands of CIOs. Additional information about Gartner EXP can be found on the Gartner Web site at