The role of the Chief Information Officer has evolved tremendously in the last few years. In the past, this C-Suite executive was seen as the technology caretaker, overseeing and maintaining software and hardware components that facilitate different technologies that support business operations. Then, they were not likely to be aligned with core business strategies or drive not and success. Today, however, they are responsible for implementing security measures, managing budgets, and planning policies while taking care of the organization’s IT services. The modern CIO is present in boardrooms, engages directly with customers, and has transformed from a mere gatekeeper to a strategic-thinking business leader.
In 2022, global digital transformation investments were projected to reach US $1.8 trillion. As a result, many organizations are under immense pressure to digitally transform to successfully navigate the increasing economic uncertainty and stay on top of the competition. This is putting added pressure on the CIO and other IT leaders to test drive change and, at the same time, improve ROI. While the evolving IT trends present vast opportunities to help solve business problems and deliver competitive advantages, they also bring myriad challenges. To seize the opportunities and prevail over the obstacles, CIOs must focus their efforts on the following areas:
Customer experience may sound like a problem for the Sales or Marketing team. Still, the CIO plays a vital role in the customer experience equation and can be a driving force in customer experience management (CEM). In today’s digital world, customer experience is a growing requisite, and a customer-first approach is needed for a successful digital business strategy. Traditionally, the CIO supported the efforts of other teams that interacted directly with the customers by providing the needed IT resources. However, to deliver transformational goals today, they need to commit to understanding the customer to determine what customers value and the role of technology in providing that value.
CIOs must learn how to integrate teams so that tech leaders, developers, and sales teams embed the right technology elements to co-create a product or service that meets the customer’s demands. The critical concerns for the CIO to address should be:
- How often does the IT team take time to learn and interact with the customers?
- Is a top leader from the organization’s business side playing a leadership role in critical tech initiatives?
- What value do your tech initiatives deliver to the customer?
In addition to observing trends and adopting digital-first strategies that help keep businesses ahead of the competition, CIOs also need to facilitate all teams to work together and include customer experience at the core of every strategy.
Data Management, Security Governance
Data has become the lifeline of tech-advanced organizations. However, it is no longer enough for CIOs to provide the necessary IT infrastructure for data collection. They now need to work harder and figure out the best data management, security, and governance strategies to enable businesses to derive value from the data they collect. For the CIO, data governance begins with the existing business data, reviewing its potential use, and evaluating its value proposition. It is a multifaceted area that requires the CIO to be hands-on and even have a governance board in place rather than making it a one-person show.
To be successful today and in the future, CIOs need to understand the state of data governance and educate their colleagues on the same. This is because the capacity to progress depends on institutional knowledge and culture. In addition, the CIO will need to define roles, responsibilities, and processes that ensure accountability and ownership of data assets across the organization.
There is a surplus amount of data available to the CIOs. Still, the focus should be on understanding what is available to them and how they can leverage it to develop more value-generating projects. For this reason, the CIO will need as much help as possible to ensure data security, management, and governance are covered. This may mean getting a security chief, automating some IT processes, or outsourcing some data-related functions.
Cloud Computing Trends
For decades, CIOs have been helping organizations implement cloud-based systems and services. However, most executives are still struggling to capture the total value that cloud technology offers. While hiccups are inevitable in adopting any new technology, the CIOs are tasked with helping businesses see the far bigger prize cloud solutions provide.
Organizations see the cloud as a path to improving IT productivity rather than a source of transformative value. Therefore, the focus of the CIO today is to help businesses know how implementing cloud technologies enables or accelerates new businesses, innovative practices, and new sources of revenue. They can achieve this by mastering cloud economics and identifying areas in business that can benefit from the advantages of cloud solutions, such as speed, flexibility, and scale.
The CIO must also develop better managerial and strategic skills to take the lead in an organization’s cloud computing solutions. At the forefront of their strategy should be efficiency and cost-effectiveness. They should also become more flexible and agile to adapt to the changing needs of the business.
Every tech-driven organization needs to develop and sustain a skilled and talented digital workforce to get ahead. Your workforce should be able to use the technologies available to them effectively and must also be flexible to adopt new approaches quickly. CIOs must be drivers of comprehensive and continuous training supporting a business’s digital and strategic agendas.
Digital upskilling and reskilling are more than just training the workforce to become tech proficient. It is about creating a well-rounded and resilient workforce while increasing their effectiveness and performance. Doing so allows a business to remain agile under pressure and stay ahead of the competition.
Even CIOs need to invest in acquiring new skills to develop an expansive view of the role of IT in business. As such, they will need to look beyond traditional learning that involves training modules and certification programs. This may mean regularly learning skills based on need or anticipation of demand and creating an environment where people can freely share and learn. CIOs must also budget and plan for upskilling programs and track and monitor any implemented digital upskilling efforts.
Running a business without using technology is almost impossible in today’s digital age. This has provided CIOs with a unique opportunity to become business drivers who can speak with experience and the voice of the customer to influence a company’s value.
Contact us for more information.