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CIO: Good intentions for 2020

At the end of the year, the time is right to take a look at the balance sheet, but also to set a number of new goals. And no, there will be no rest for the Chief Information Officer in the coming year. Automation, the war for talent and business alignment remain on the agenda in 2020, without forgetting the operational side of IT.

For any CIO, the main priority is and remains to guarantee an optimal, functioning IT infrastructure, especially at a time when IT platforms become more and more interconnected and have to be available 24/7/365. Of course, the cloud can provide an answer to this challenge, even if it is advisable to ensure optimal and constant control over the systems in that case (notably with know-how that is kept internally).

Likewise, controlling costs in an uncertain economic climate will undoubtedly be at the top of the CIO’s agenda, without necessarily going into fallback mode and lowering ambitions. In this context, both outsourcing and the cloud can help reduce expenses. It is clear that in a increasingly competitive environment, IT must position itself as one of the engines of innovation and of the inevitable digital transformation every company should be setting up these days.

To further reduce costs, automation offers an interesting alternative. The first targets are standardized and repetitive tasks, such as first level support (helpdesk) or the allocation of basic IT resources. Freed up personnel can be reassigned to functions with a higher added value for the organization. But at the same time, consultancy firm Forrester believes that cutting costs is a recipe for failure in today’s environment.

Influencer
Still according to Forrester, people are an important key to success. To be successful, the IT department will have to raise the skills level of its teams in operations, development and security. Likewise, it will be a question of inciting these teams to work in a more harmonious and concerted way, in particular within the framework of DevOps strategies or, even better, SecDevOps (see our previous blogs). In terms of collaboration, IT teams will have to work closely with the business, as business and IT alignment is now essential if the company wants to become agile and reactive.

In addition, given the growing complexity of systems (especially in security), the establishment of ecosystems, not only internally, but also with external partners (suppliers in particular), will be essential.

Likewise, the CIO himself will have to play a new role, not only of facilitator, but also of leader within the organization. As part of the management committee, the CIO has an influence on the company’s decision-making, not only about IT, but also on a strategic level. In this regard, the modern CIO will be less of a geek and more of a specialist on the organizational level of the company.

Use the data

The CIO needs to look for ways to make more use of available data and transform this data into information, by implementing, among other things, analytics and big data processing solutions. These solutions will not only be used by the IT department, but also by the employees of various other departments, including marketing, HR and logistics. This is part of the ultimate challenge of digital transformation: changing and optimizing traditional business processes into digital flows.

In this context, security and governance are key success factors. Next to the obvious human factor, that is. Don’t forget that every transformation involves changes in habits and behaviour, which individuals usually don’t pick up naturally and which require a lot of communication and training. And in the context of the war for talent, the retention of employees, especially in IT, is more important than ever before.

Finally, the CIO shouldn’t neglect or underestimate new technologies and innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual and augmented reality, edge computing and blockchain.

According to Forrester, companies that stand out today are integrating change and uncertainty to improve the user, employee and customer experience. They take advantage of technology without being enslaved to it, and innovate with the support of the CIO. The companies whose CIO’s are still too attached to administrative and financial management are less well placed to achieve their objectives.

Partnership

As the CIO wants to focus on these initiatives, he makes sure to surround himself with the right people and organizations, both internally and externally. A partner like Aprico combines cutting-edge expertise with perfect management, applied to both technology and the customer’s business. This approach allows us to develop and implement innovative ICT offers that aim at improving the productivity, efficiency and profitability of our customers. This way, they become stronger and are ready to face all current technological challenges.