10 New Make-or-Break Priorities for the CIO

In 2017, Gartner’s CIO agenda survey showed that 34 percent of CIOs are already leading their companies’ innovation efforts. This eagerness must continue. Kevin Hansel, in an article for InformationWeek, says that CIOs today should be able to move their companies’ digital transformations forward, make an impact on overall business operations, and ultimately succeed in the role. He explores 10 career-defining priorities that today’s CIOs must tackle:

  1. Control SaaS sprawl
  2. Drive IT innovation as a competitive advantage
  3. Change the perception of IT value
  4. Foster IT skills development
  5. Keep up with the pace of technology change
  6. Embrace digital transformation
  7. Turn big data and analytics inward
  8. Strengthen partnership with the CISO
  9. Keep up with the changing compliance landscape
  10. Drive solutions that are aligned with the business

Make IT Rise to the Lead Role

IT is no longer just a backstage character who supports the business on the competitive market; it is a competitive differentiator. Therefore, companies need a digital-first approach to thrive and focus on developing IT, inserting technical innovation into IT solutions and all of the company’s core products and services. In order to embrace a more agile agenda, human resources is the first place to start—by fostering IT skills development. Businesspeople nowadays no longer just know how to analyze numbers and come up with strategic investment plans, but they should also know how to utilize digital into their daily practice. Even marketing people will need to become more tech-savvy if they want to successfully advertise a product and generate sales.

Old perceptions of IT need to be modernized, as well. IT has had a bad reputation of being expensive, slow, unsafe, incomprehensible, or unrealistic, whereas business is often viewed more positively as agile, strategic, realistic, and profitable. CIOs today must add more value to IT by ensuring technology acquisition and delivery is completed in a secure, cooperative (business-aligned), and strategic manner that sidesteps potential data breaches or cybercrimes. In driving technological innovations and igniting digital transformation, CIOs should partner with the CISO and other key people in their organization.

Cutting-edge technologies of recent years also ask businesses to adopt and develop many IT areas, especially DevOps, IoT, security, machine learning, blockchain, and big data, all of which will present benefits and risks regarding cybercrimes as well. And here is what Hansel writes about the need to wrangle SaaS sprawl:

CIOs are increasingly challenged to drive strategy and alignment into the current environment of “SaaS sprawl.” As the pendulum swung away from the old world of IT-provided applications to the new world of easy-to-consume SaaS, the pace of corporate technology acquisition exploded almost overnight. However, companies are now discovering that the benefits of solving pain points quickly via SaaS are being offset by skyrocketing costs, data, and functionality sprawl, and the absence of a strategy around long-term architecture and integration. CIOs are now being asked to help drive strategy, alignment, security, and governance back into the business while, at the same time, continuing to leverage the speed and agility that SaaS can deliver. Today’s CIOs must help ensure that companies get the best of both worlds.

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