5 factors redefining the role of the IOC in 2022

The digital world that has emerged as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the role of CIOs.

For Susan Snedaker, CIO at El Rio Health, a Tucson, Arizona-based nonprofit healthcare provider, showing the company what’s possible and how to achieve its goals through technology has become a cornerstone. of the role of CIO today.

“The role of the CIO has evolved from collaborative partner to strategic leader,” Snedaker said, adding that there are fewer and fewer business initiatives that don’t have technology at the center of the discussion. Having a strategic thinker as the organization’s chief technology officer is imperative in 2022.

She sees CIOs driving business transformation by digitizing repetitive, internal operational tasks and developing innovative digital business initiatives. “The first is the table stakes, the second is the source of competitive advantage,” she said.

The expectation of the CIO as a business strategist isn’t the only role-defining trend in 2022, according to interviews with multiple CIOs and other enterprise IT experts. Here’s a look at the five factors they see as reshaping the role of the CIO in 2022.

1. Business value generation

Most CEOs and C-suite executives abandoned their view of IT as a cost center years ago, as they came to view CIOs as enablers of business strategy. But some leading organizations go far beyond that, and even beyond viewing the CIO as a business enabler, said Bobby Cameron, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. These organizations view IT as integral to creating value and even revenue for the business, he said.

Bobby Cameron

Forrester breaks down IT maturity into three levels. The first is traditional computing, where the CIO and IT department act as order takers. The next is modern computing, defining IT as a “partner actor”. The third and most mature is the future of computingin which the IT department shares responsibility for business performance.

“These CIOs own the revenue,” Cameron said of CIOs working in future-shaped IT departments.

He said Forrester research shows that organizations with future-ready IT departments grow 3.5% faster than the industry average. However, they remain a rare breed. He cited research showing that the majority of IT organizations (58%) are still at the first level of maturity, 38% are modern, and only 3% are considered future-ready. On the other hand, he said he sees more and more CIOs maturing their own IT organizations. “They’re moving from cost-driven driving to value-driven driving,” he said.

Forrester Research's Three Levels of IT Maturity

2. Agility, innovation, transformation

PwC, in its latest Pulse Survey, revealed that 60% of executives surveyed named digital transformation as their most critical growth driver in 2022.

The survey also revealed that 53% of CIOs are accelerating their digital transformation initiatives.

And he revealed that the No. 1 priority for CIOs was to refine their operating model to be more agile, with 43% citing this area when asked how they would spend their time and money in 2022.

Dan Priest head shotDan Priest

As part of all of this, CIOs are focused on how they can use a range of emerging and mature technologies to innovate and support transformation, said Dan Priest, managing partner for cloud and digital at PwC.

He pointed to other survey results that show 61% of CIOs cite artificial intelligence as the technology of primary interest to drive innovations in 2022. Other leading technologies for innovation include digital identity (57%), 5G (56%), IoT (54%), blockchain (47%) and metaverse (46%).

PwC noted in its report that each of these technologies “can underpin a company’s innovation strategy,” but said they were more likely to be used in combination. In fact, it’s this combination, or convergence, of technologies that has the most impact, Priest said.

CIO Trend Chart
CIO priorities and trends for 2022 at a glance

3. Customer-centric

According to Sumana Nallapati, Global CIO at Insight Enterprises, “Clients want us to meet them in a very personalized way.”

As a result, she said she sees customer delight and obsession as a top priority for the CIO.

Sumana Nallapati HeadbuttSumana Nallapati

Nallapati said she and her IT team are building data-driven operating models to achieve this goal. They’re creating a unified data architecture to enable prescriptive insights into data, using AI to help reduce friction in processes, and deploying more automation – including chatbots – to speed up processes and unleash “the power to bring real added value”. “

She noted that it’s all part of providing “a human-centric, customer-centric way of doing business.”

Others said they shared Nallapati’s focus on customers – and for good reason: a study by professional services firm EY identified six common habits among companies that excel in digital transformation, placing the customer “first” at the top of the list.

4. Improved cybersecurity posture and ransomware readiness

Organizations across all industries face an ever-expanding threat landscape, and as such, CIOs can no longer afford to be reactive, said Dana Daher, research director in the CIO practice at Info-Tech. ResearchGroup.

Portrait of Dana DaherDana Daher

She said CIOs are tasked with improving their organization’s cybersecurity posture by acting more proactively. They are now expected to address the risks they introduce when creating new products and services, such as hybrid work environments. In fact, of the five priorities listed by Info-Tech Research Group as crucial for CIOs to be competitive in the digital economy, improving ransomware readiness ranks second, after “reducing friction in the business model.” hybrid operation”.

“There is a new set of risks emerging and CIOs need to be at the forefront to address them,” Daher said, adding that today CIOs are more likely to make decisions collaboratively. with security and risk leaders as the technology stack and IT environment changes and evolves.

5. An inclination towards CIO as a technologist

For at least a decade, CIOs have required business knowledge, executive skills, and technology skills to successfully lead their IT departments and help shape business strategy with their C-suite colleagues.

Experts emphasized that CIOs should always have the business and executive components; these do not disappear or diminish; but some see a rebalancing of these three traits with the tech element gaining prominence.

Portrait of Benjamin RehbergBenjamin Reberg

Benjamin Rehberg, managing director and senior partner of the Boston Consulting Group and head of the company’s Technology Advantage practice in North America, said he sees renewed interest in the CIO as a technologist.

“I think successful CIOs have become a lot more technical, and I think [the era of] CIOs who don’t have deep technical skills are coming to an end,” he said. “All successful CIOs I know are deep technical.”

Rehberg said one of the factors driving this return to the CIO as a technologist is the IT team itself. “Technologists want to be led by technologists. They want their CIO to value technology,” he explained.

That’s not all, however.

Rehberg said the technologies driving business transformation and evolution today, such as AI and blockchain, are complex and require IT leaders who have more than a high-level understanding of them.

“The strategic engagement required is so deep that if you don’t understand the technology, you won’t have a sense of the opportunities it offers,” he said, asking, “How can you explain it to someone else if you don’t understand the possibilities that exist?”

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