CIOs and other technology leaders have had a few banner years with the growth of AI, the explosion of cybersecurity issues and the difficulty finding and keeping talent in a tight job market. The transformation of organizations has largely been driven in the business side, as data-hungry marketers are constantly looking for new ways to address the need for more customers and revenue growth. Challenges of only a few years ago — keeping networks updated and ensuring that backups are in order and easily accessible — are largely solved for many organizations by the adoption of cloud-based business continuity solutions. There is a move towards system consolidation that provides business leaders with a more holistic view of the organization, with many multi-year projects underway that will keep teams busy. With all the activity in the IT side of the business, how can CIOs stay focused on the future and the emerging technology that will help their business stay competitive with new entrants to the market?

Digital Transformation and Business Strategy

CIOs are no longer “just” the IT guys (and gals!), they are now being asked to take a more strategic role in the organization to help drive digital transformation throughout the business. Infrastructure is still critically important to the nature of the business, but having a stable network is considered a requirement for doing business. There is little patience from internal customers when WiFi and other connected technologies are slow or not working properly. This added pressure comes at a time when businesses are struggling to adequately staff their help desks with mid-level technicians, much less finding talented staff members who are well-versed in cybersecurity, data science and AI. CIOs must have a solid understanding of the current and future business needs of the organization in order to kick off extended projects quickly — or risk losing market share to upstarts that are able to be more nimble in their strategies.

Driving Digital Culture Throughout the Organization

While some staff members will always want to be on the bleeding edge of technology, there is a significant base of workers that are still quite resistant to the change that technology can bring to the business. There is a perception that this is mostly the older contingent, but that’s not always the case. CIOs are finding that Millennials and Gen Z are often comfortable staying within their habits, while older staff members are working hard to adopt new tech to stay relevant and valuable as they see the workforces changing. In fact, a recent Gartner study shows that younger and older employees are more likely to embrace change, while those in the middle years — ages 35-44 — rated the lowest in what Gartner calls their “Digital Dexterity Index”. This measure of the ability of individuals to be open to new consumer technologies and working outside the confines of the office.

Consumer Privacy and Data Security

CIOs are facing some significant challenges when it comes to the storage and usage of digital data points, most specifically consumer health and financial information. With the recent passing of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), CIOs are now responsible for ensuring that business data is following all the requirements of these extensive regulations. In some cases, that requires additional consolidation of data and the need for advanced monitoring and reporting in order to remain compliant. Lack of compliance brings negative publicity, a loss of consumer confidence and a hefty price tag, besides. Understanding the legal implications and business obligations and translating this information to action items requires a high-level oversight of the various ways that consumer data is being leveraged across the organization — something that CIOs haven’t always needed to have, as this also includes marketing platforms and websites as well as databases and the more traditional back-end systems.

While there is a great deal of growth and change expected in the world of the CIO, that’s not unexpected. What is unusual is that CIOs are going to be expected to help find ways for the business to generate revenue by utilizing all of the resources that are at hand. Now more than ever, the CIO is becoming a strategic role in the life of the organization and one that helps create — and maintain — a lasting competitive advantage. CIOs are increasingly looking to partners to expand their understanding of the possible, and the professionals at CIO Advise provide a valuable service by bringing IT expertise in emerging technologies such as AI, predictive analytics, IoT and machine learning. See how we can help you chart a path to the future that will align technology with the needs of the business. Contact us today at 833-CIO-ADVS or schedule a no-obligation initial consultation online at CIOAdvise.com.