The release this coming Thursday (August 17) of the Australian results latest global Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey should provide compelling reading for all those local executives with carriage of their companies digital strategies.

The event which will be held at the Ivy Ballroom in Sydney is one of those ‘must-go’ activities for the city’s CIOs and chief digital officers, and for one simple reason; Who owns digital remains an open question.

Go back a few years and the answer seemed to be the CMO. However, the marketing chiefs have their hands full just getting their adtech and martech stacks to work together and never really grasped the opportunity.

Since then chief digital directors have emerged as the go-to solution although there are doubts that the position is sustainable in the long term, and criticisms that it looks like a structural solution to a deeply embedded cultural problem. And CIOs, initially excluded from many digital projects as they were seen as inhibitors to change rather than facilitators, appear to be finding favour once again as the sheer magnitude of the technical challenge of digital becomes apparent.

We asked Harvey Nash Australia’s managing director (who is also an occasional Which-50 contributor), Bridget Gray, what we should expect this year.

While keeping the Australian results closely guarded she told Which-50, “Last year we saw the emergence of the ‘Creative CIO’ – a transformational business leader, technology strategist and business model innovator.”

According to Gray, “The focus has moved from ‘keeping the lights on’ to creating business value, harnessing the social and technical disruption all around. The Creative CIO was at the forefront of digital change, both driving it and responding to it with new technologies, delivery models and governance approaches.”

The other trend to look out for is board engagement with digital, which in Australia has lagged. Last year’s survey found that around the world digital has firmly found a place on the board and c-suite agenda.

The 2016 study found that a clear majority (58 per cent) of respondents reported that their organisation has a clear digital vision and strategy, with board or c-suite executives owning 36 per cent of these strategies. Increasingly organisations are expecting their CIO to lead the delivery of the digital strategy.

The global data for the study is already live. In May we learnt that The proportion of organizations surveyed that have enterprise-wide digital strategies increased 21 percent in just two years, and those organizations with a Chief Digital Officer have increased 40 percent over last year.

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