CIOs should help grow the business


The influence of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) on the strategy and operations of the company is growing exponentially, according to a new study from IBM Institute for Business Value (IBM).

The study, which surveyed 5,000 C-suite technology leaders (CIO / CTO), as well as executives, found that more than half of CIOs rank as a critical enabler of the company’s vision, collaborating with colleagues to meet rapidly changing demands and drive value across their businesses and beyond. This is compared to just 1 in 5 CIOs who rated as critical a decade ago.

And the story is the same for CEOs. When asked which other members of the C-Suite would be the most critical over the next few years, CEOs appointed their technical heads (CIOs and CTOs) at more than twice the rate of CMO, CHRO or any other position except CFO and COO.

Role of technology in the post-pandemic era

No wonder, given how the pandemic has accelerated the need for AI and hybrid cloud applications to power business-critical processes, making the technology function more vital than ever for the success and relevance of the business.

Research reveals that since 2019, there has been a 700% increase in hybrid cloud operations, a 560% increase in digital process automation and intelligent workflows, a 467% increase in native deployment of the cloud and a 292% increase in data insights and AI. And CIOs report that 20-40% of organizational business processes have been automated.

“In our post-pandemic era, the role of technology has never been more critical and it is up to CIOs to influence strategy, break down internal silos and drive agility and innovation across the board. of the company “, declares Catherine guarini, Chief Information Officer, IBM.

Change of role of the CIO

In the past, the role of an CIO was simply to provide technology for IT projects. Now it is that and more. As CIOs continue to provide the core IT services that power day-to-day business operations, they are also often expected to help drive business innovation and growth, delivering business and customer outcomes through joint collaboration. .

CIOs have become “part of the group that defines and determines the transformation of companies”, explains the CIO of Banorte, Fernando Trevino Elizondo.

Reflecting their increasingly strategic role, 52% of CIOs say they engage more with their CEO than with any other executive in the C suite.

“The idea that the company is pursuing a technological strategy is now obsolete”, observes Laura Silver, CIO at Sun Life Financial. “The business strategy is developed in partnership with our technology strategy, as we share a common goal of putting customers first and facilitating business relationships with us digitally. “

Many CIOs emphasize the importance of data and automation in breaking down silos and creating new value streams. The number of CIOs reporting high maturity in AI-enabled workflows is up 560% from two years ago, and 37% of CIOs cite process automation as the top opportunity for positive impact in the industry. within their organizations.

CIOs are also looking to use technology to advance against company goals such as sustainability, with 42% expecting the technology to have a significant impact on sustainability over the next three years – that’s the greatest of all impact areas.

Challenges for CIOs at the dawn of 2022

The lack of collaboration with CTOs and the underestimation of the difficulties of ongoing hybrid workplaces are among the challenges that CTOs have on their plate..

1. Collaboration at the crossroads Many CIOs increasingly serve as a bridge between other business functions, connecting the dots to balance and reorganize technology resources and capabilities to drive agility and efficiency. Within the walls of the technology function itself, however, only 4 in 10 CIOs surveyed report interacting with CTOs frequently, despite the fact that effective collaboration can generate financial benefits. The consequences of this disconnect can be significant – if CIOs and CTOs use data and AI for different use cases without coordination between culture, processes and tools, the organization may lack an inter-vision. -enterprise and the ability to properly manage critical data.

Arun Aggarwal, SVP, Business Technology for Finland-based energy company Fortum, recognizes the need to align both intent and incentives, explaining, “In collaborating with other technology leaders, there must be absolute clarity of the goal. This means a clear mission and no duplication between functions. You need to be aligned with the financial and operational incentives.

2. Underestimation of the current hybrid workplace challenge

The majority of CIOs say they have remote working strategies in place, yet only 23% expect this to become permanent. On the other hand, nearly two out of three employees say they prefer to work remotely or in a hybrid model. This points to a potential blind spot for CIOs and in this era of ‘the big resignation’, the ability of CIOs to embrace effective technology applications and productive collaboration strategies for the workforce could make a significant difference in the performance of the workforce. war of talents.

The the study includes recommendations from IBM for leaders on embracing hybrid cloud approach and AI technology to help drive business agility, innovation and growth and how to bridge the gap with CTO.

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