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Gartner has predicted that by 2026, 70% of multinational enterprises will adjust the countries in which they operate by hedging to reduce their geopolitical exposure. According to Gartner, chief information officers (CIOs) have a pivotal role to play in assessing corporate risk and, if required, rearchitecting digital systems.
The analyst warned that CIOs can no longer count on the availability of technology used by the enterprise for its operations in any country in which it operates, and will likely be faced with restricted and mandated suppliers.
To minimise disruptions, Gartner recommended that CIOs establish a centre of excellence to assess tech supplier risks, chartered with a regular assessment of the exposure of key suppliers to evolving government restrictions.
Beyond potential restrictions on enterprise software, Gartner warned that national competition for control over the governance of cyberspace will impact the operations of multinational enterprises.
As digital technology weaves itself through all aspects of society, Gartner pointed out that nations are seeking to ensure their own technologies reflect and support their core values and citizens. Governments are increasingly concluding that they need a protected national digital infrastructure.
The machinations by governments for control over cyberspace governance are beyond the influence of CIOs, but they will have profound impacts on a business’s ability to operate internationally. CIOs can advance the executive team’s understanding of cross-national competition for control over cyberspace and the impacts to their enterprise’s operations by leading an annual cyberspace environmental update briefing.
Gartner urged CIOs to ensure that the IT department’s operating model and practices reflect current laws and regulations. In this respect, Gartner said the CIO’s role is to be aware of the legal environment and articulate to other executives how the IT organisation supports compliance across the enterprise.
The fact that governments around the world are publicly committed to expanding digital capabilities and nurturing tech startups to develop domestic tech capabilities offers CIOs a way to tap into local expertise and government-backed co-innovation support.
Gartner fellow Brian Prentice said: “Digital geopolitics is now one of the most disruptive trends that CIOs must address, with many now dealing with trade disputes, legislation coming from one country that impacts global operations, and government-imposed restrictions on the acquisition and use of digital technology. They need to get acquainted with this new reality and prepare for its impact.”