Digital Transformation is no longer optional in the corporate world. With the global technological revolution gearing exceptional pace, countless job roles are witnessing dramatic overhauls, primarily that of the CIO. In fact, CIOs are even being considered as one of the most important influencers on the strategy table today.


Let’s take a look at these supporting statistics:

  • Global trade in digital services has increased the world’s GDP by 1% in the last decade alone.
  • Digital disruption is the primary reason why about 52% of the Fortune 500 companies have disappeared since 2000.
  • 91% of Technology leaders today are either aiming to implement digital initiatives or have already done so.

And to have all this when digital disruption has only just begun…

The world of IT is changing, and it’s changing fast. Today, IT is responsible for managing the technical concerns and improving business efficiency, while also enabling the organization to drive more revenue and innovation.

While the success of a business’ IT initiatives is directly correlated to the volume of data that it can gather, the data needs to be actively put to use to realize this. Consequently, the role of CIOs needs to expand its purview if IT needs to be allocated a more strategic role. In essence, the primary role of CIOs today goes beyond IT infrastructure with their actual job being to deal with the creation of a superior business model.

Challenges CIOs face today

With so many digital options available, top of the line imperatives are not easy to spot. Hence, saying no to viable ideas in a sea of similar digital solutions is probably the foremost challenge that CIOs face today. Other major issues include:

  • Asset Allocation: Since both fixed and variable costs are incurred on unutilized assets, asset allocation is a massive worry for CIOs.
  • Adoption Metrics: System applications need to be efficiently tracked for numerous KPIs such as features in each release, usage and adoption rate, runtime metrics, uptime duration, and the like.
  • Software Licensing: Every third-party software needs to be regularly monitored for compliance and licensing related issues. Failing to do so might result in hefty penalties.
  • Missed Opportunities: With global digital disruption developing at a lightning pace, CIOs tend to lose valuable opportunities while being too focused on traditional business tactics.
  • Internal Barriers: CIOs also struggle with internal barriers of organizational culture, resource utilization and talent availability to grow and scale their digital initiatives.

How can CIOS Address these Challenges

CIOs can undertake a more active role in the organization and solve these challenges by setting their priorities correct and channeling their focus in the right direction. Here is how they can do this:

  1. Enabling Business Agility by Implementing Emerging Technologies

By the end of 2019, 40% of digital transformation initiatives would leverage Artificial Intelligence services. In fact, by 2021, 75% of commercial enterprise apps will be using AI. Other technologies such as Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, and Chatbots are also in contention. Hence, analyzing current business processes and appropriately leveraging relevant technologies should be a CIO’s top priority today. The next step should be to pair this with business intelligence and analytics.

  1. Leveraging Innovation to Optimize Costs

CIOs need to evaluate current organizational needs and foster a culture of a shared-service organization for as many IT services as possible. At the same time, they can also centralize, consolidate, modernize, integrate and standardize technologies along with leveraging the right cloud infrastructures. Meanwhile, utilizing zero-based budgeting on the right cost categories and increasing IT-related financial transparency will enable them to better manage both supply and demand.

  1. Boosting Digital Fitness by Being Customer-Centric

The cost of acquiring new customers is 6-7 times more than the cost of keeping existing ones. Therefore, CIOs needs to focus on delivering extraordinary experiences to their customers. Here is what being customer-centric comes down to:

  • Delivering experiences that makes them connect with the company’s vision and assists them throughout their buying journey.
  • Leveraging customer experience to build long-term strategic partnerships with customers.
  • Listening to the customers, gathering valuable feedback and using it to drive their loyalty.

4. Inculcating a Culture of Constant Innovation

The role of CIOs is transforming at a rapid pace, and they are required to innovate continuously to solve business problems. They need to drive improvements across every business vertical today, while also creating a data-driven culture. Hence, one of the best strategies here is to inculcate a culture of ‘failing fast.’ Not only will this positively impact the perspective of employees towards failures, but it will also result in a faster and unceasing innovation process.

What measures have you taken in your organization to ride the unpredictable wave of digital transformation? Share your views in the comments section below!

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Posted by S. Praveen Padala

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