As the future of IT continues to progress, the role that the IT department plays becomes increasingly important, and increasingly demanding. We know that, as a CIO, your role is constantly changing and expanding. You might typically focus on having an overall responsibility for the IT of the entire organization, with a central task of keeping things running smoothly.
According to a recent 2017 Canadian CIO Survey, 57% of IT budgets are currently increasing, mainly due to a high demand for IT innovation. This is leading you, the CIO, to wear many different hats, taking on responsibilities of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and possibly even the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at times.
Post-recession, around 2010-2011, there was a major step up in IT. A multitude of innovative solutions, and many factors involved in digital disruption came to surface. With so much demand for IT to keep up with changing demands, the role that you play as a CIO has become much more significant. Things like job security and the amount of innovation and work that you can accomplish has changed, as more CIOs are holding long-term positions for 5 years or more. With all of this demand, you often end up having to not only focus on keeping the back-end running smoothly while trying to innovate, but also to keep the customer’s needs as a top priority.
There’s more to the CIO’s job than just meeting demands and innovating. With such a busy to-do list, setting priorities and coming up with a game plan can be an effective approach for IT leaders and management to take in deciding what initiatives to focus on, and which can be dealt with later on down the road. According to the census, the top priority for most CIO’s is currently cybersecurity. Firewalls and passwords aren’t considered to be good enough anymore, and IT must take steps to improve security measures. Things like disaster recovery follow closely behind, particularly with recent cyberattacks that have wreaked havoc on many enterprises. Continuing down the list, some other priorities include things like data analytics, customer service, and of course, digital transformation. This CIO list of priorities truly represents the roles that you might have been playing in enterprises, roles that expand far beyond the usual IT responsibilities, and breach into those of other C-levels, like the CDO who would typically be entirely responsible for customer service.
Collaborating towards innovation
The 2017 Canadian CIO Survey also shows that about 1/3 of IT departments are looking for a 15% increase in budget, mainly to accommodate collaborative projects within the IT budget. A top priority for every CIO surveyed, is innovation. Approximately 30% of CIOS report to the CEO, and about 26% report to the CFO, and all three of these executives express a major need for innovation, in order to keep up with the constantly changing IT environment. As a CIO, you are expected to find the best possible means to innovate for the entire company. These kinds of demands leave you with a full set of responsibilities, goals, and of course limitations. There is an expectation to demonstrate value through growing, enhancing, and developing new markets, as well as increasing the key metrics and numbers. All of this in order to both keep up with technology trends and company needs, as well as keep customers happy and well-equipped.
According to the survey, 78% of CIOs believe collaborating with other lines of business on initiatives on things such as customer service, customer retention, and customer acquisition can prove to be useful in making better, well-informed decision. On that same note, collaboration between departments and different parts of the company can be a great source of business innovation, allowing for IT managers to make investments and purchasing decisions based on knowledge from a variety of different pools of information. On that note, you must make well-informed decisions with all of this key information in mind. Collaborating with others instead of doing it all on your own will prove useful in making the best possible decision. Involve and bring voices to people from all corners of the company environment in the decision making process.
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AUTHOR: Victoria Lewin