We look at four challenges that CIOs will have to tackle in 2019.
I spend a fair amount of time meeting with CIOs in the region, discussing their businesses and hosting a pair of CIO peer-to-peer groups. The conversations are always very interesting as they share challenges, successes and future visions.
Naturally, there’s a lot of consistency from year to year, for example cyber security will ALWAYS be a priority.
But there’s never a shortage of new initiatives, strategies and opportunities as well. There better be, right? Otherwise the CIO is probably not very good at their job!
So, from my conversations over the past year, here are priority issues for 2019.
Nearly everyone is at one stage or another in deployment of Office 365, this ubiquitous Microsoft product.
Interestingly, a common challenge expressed has more to do with user behavior than the software itself. That is, companies get to a successful roll-out and email is deployed but maximizing the ROI on it is proving elusive to most organizations.
True collaboration and real business process change around the tool are the biggest impediments.
Data, Data, Data
This topic has been top of mind for awhile and most CIOs are actively working it.
We’re seeing more and more resources assigned to manage data. It’s generally understood that while companies produce mountains of data, it’s largely unusable or not actionable without expert intervention.
That said, a clear recognition exists that revenue growth and cost savings opportunities are hiding in that data. In most cases a solid ROI can be achieved with the right effort.
It may be a cliche, but it’s often true: the only constant is change.
When people think of digital disruption, it’s often times centered on internet technologies, especially those that are sales and marketing oriented. But disruption is a diverse threat, or opportunity, depending on your perspective.
Naturally, labor intensive or manual, process-dependent organizations can find themselves in the cross-hairs of a tech disruption. Especially if a competitor enters with significant and overwhelmingly valuable automation.
But they’re not the only ones. Smart CIOs from all industries are recognizing patterns in their own organization and their markets for signs of disruption potential.
For years I’ve heard CIOs express frustrations over their roles in business innovation.
Frequently sharing frustrations with a perceived role as order takers, keeping the lights on or worse, the “party of no” when business lines looked for unique support.
But that role is changing as many CIOs are being tasked by their CEO to lead business innovation instead of merely supporting innovation efforts by business lines.
This shift is difficult to make and requires rock-solid alignment of IT strategy to business strategy, restructuring of roles and significant cultural change in the organization.
Of course, these are just four areas that are consistently emerging.
Ongoing and critical areas still include tech talent, IT security and others, but increasingly those areas are table stakes for running an effective IT organization.
Economic and political uncertainty notwithstanding, 2019 will definitely be an interesting year for IT leaders. I’m looking forward to seeing how they tackle these challenges and others.