Confronted with recent technological advances, political and economic changes, CIOs need to change their priorities when making critical business decisions. Here are the top six that should take center stage in 2017.
Lead and Innovate
With technology turning into such an essential asset to any business, expectations from the Information Technology (IT) departments are higher than ever before. CEOs are counting on their CIOs to be leaders in the digital space instead of simply following the footsteps of their competitors.
According to the 2016/17 Deloitte CIO survey, most CIOs are focused on upgrades and maintenance, but that will only keep them afloat. They also need to turn their attention on innovation if they want their businesses to thrive.
They must take the reins of digital transformation in their companies, not just supervise them. According to Gartner 2016 CIO Agenda survey, just 40% of CIOs report that they are the leaders of digital transformation in their companies while just 34% of them claim that they are innovative leaders. If you want to build a successful business in this tech-obsessed world, then you have to jump at the opportunity to lead and innovate.
Talk to Your Customers
Communication is the key to perfection and leadership. For the best results, the IT department needs to collaborate with sales, marketing, finance, operations and product development, and most importantly, with the customers.
Everything goes around the client. The best CIOs don’t rely only on the data their peers provide, but they get their hands dirty, and they meet with and survey their clients. So, go out there and ask the questions you know will help you create something that you know customers will love.
Do Everything Faster
Our lives are highly dependent on technology, and we want things to be done yesterday. As a result, successful businesses are the ones that react the fastest to clients’ demands. That translates into a lot of pressure on the CIOs.
Fortunately, according to the Society for Information Management’s 2017 IT Trends survey, CIOs upped IT and business flexibility/agility on top of their priorities, to fourth place from seventh last year and fifth from ninth respectively.
Secure Data with Clouds
Information safety is a key factor in client’s decision of choosing a product. Investing in effective cyber security solutions should, thus, be a priority.
In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation which enters into application in 2018, forces organizations to increase their security level. Otherwise, they’ll face fines up to 4% of global annual turnover.
Again, the responsibility for that to happen falls on the CIO’s shoulders. Their best option to keep data secured is to move it to the cloud. Cloud providers have the best talents working on providing world-class security – their core competency and value proposition.
Close Your Own Data Centers
Shifting to cloud computing gives you the opportunity to consolidate or retire your data centers, lowering costs with power, people, and capital. That could mean a 30% decrease in spending per year. The cloud is also much safer, as already mentioned above.
Disk space won’t be a problem anymore since you can easily create a new server reallocating your data in the span of minutes. You’ll get better resource management by virtualizing your servers on just one physical server.
However, the most important benefit of closing your data centers is that the CIOs can now focus on the projects that’ll bring a competitive advantage to the company.
Embrace Artificial Intelligence
The integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in organizations is no longer a thing possible only in science fiction movies. It stopped being a problem of available data, exclusive and expensive software and hardware and it’s now a “problem” of if and how companies will use it.
AI is past the level where it only automates manual labor. Now it gathers structured and unstructured data, analyzes it and generates insights no matter the area – customer service, HR, marketing, finance, logistics, etc. The latest smart machines bring the promise of lowering costs (according to a survey of 1,600 business and IT executives, the costs will drop by 44%), providing better recommendations, optimizing product prices, identifying fraud, gauging customer sentiment and intent, and even root out IT problems.
CIOs should adopt AI as soon as possible. Otherwise, they risk being marginalized, considering that 71% of decision makers stated that their businesses have either been or will be disrupted by this new wave.
The digital transformation is on every company’s agenda for this year. But the success of it depends on how you set your priorities. The CIO’s role is critical. They need to take a visionary approach to technology as it’s more than a cost-cutting tool. It’s the driving force that will keep businesses relevant in this tech-driven world.