Top executives at large enterprises expect to bring on more data-minded leaders in the near future, though CEOs could use some guidance on aligning the role data and digital goals with their overall business strategy, according to a new market report from Gartner Research.

In its report, entitled “CEO and Senior Executive Survey 2013: As Uncertainty Recedes, the Digital Future Emerges,” Gartner assessed the answers on data and digital plans in queries of nearly 400 senior business leaders from businesses registering more than $250 million in annual revenue.

By a four-to-one ratio, these large enterprises plan to increase IT investment in various ways this year rather than cut it. Further out, more data-minded executives will be joining the C-suite, according to Gartner. The report found that 19 percent of business leaders anticipate bringing on or promoting a Chief Digital Officer by 2014, and 17 percent expect to have a defined Chief Data Officer role.

Less obvious are the responses from senior business leaders when it came to their digital strategy. Fifty-two percent reported that they “think” they have a digital strategy. While viewing this leadership viewpoint as a positive start, Gartner recommended that CEOs and leadership must “crystallize” what having a digital strategy means through executive subgroups and connection with the broader business roadmap.

In a release accompanying the report, Gartner VP Mark Raskino said business leadership stands to gain in the near term by “investing bravely and deeply” in their IT capabilities.

"After more than a decade of modest investment and sorting out the basics, it's time to think ahead. Business leaders tell us they recognize the need to invest in e-commerce, mobile, cloud, social and other major technology categories, and the capabilities they enable. That can't be done from within existing IT budgets alone," Raskino said.

To register for a May 7 Web seminar on the report, click here.

This story originally appeared at Information Management.

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