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Top 5 actions CIOs should take in 2016

Diana Bersohn | Jan. 11, 2016
As 2016 begins, it’s a great time for CIOs to think about their opportunity to wield greater influence across their organization.

Specifically, today’s operating models must be capable of responding to many types of demand and disruption simultaneously, and the CIO organization needs the capability to work at multiple speeds, managing the steady state of the business even as it meets the needs of external partners and customers, and moves at speed to drive innovation. For instance, a bank needs to respond to customer demands for digital channels (e.g., mobile access to mortgage application status, or status of credit card payments) much more quickly than to internal requests for updates to a back-office accounting system.

To advance the operating model, the CIO must incorporate multiple delivery methodologies, such as DevOps or continuous integration, for varied project types. CIOs should also review architecture to define how they can segment the technology landscape into multiple speeds that can adapt to business consumption and pace of change.

4. Redesign the IT workforce

To maximize IT talent and meet digital needs of the future, changes to roles and responsibilities must be considered. IT work is evolving beyond managing programs and developing software to integrate hybrid IT capabilities (legacy and cloud) into business-relevant services. At the same time, the lines between the business and IT are merging, and blended roles are emerging to meet new digital priorities.

The CIO can develop the IT organization by strategically upskilling, attracting and sourcing the right people who bring new skills, such as business acumen, cloud vendor management, data management, business intelligence/analytics, as well as business relationship management and collaboration skills.

CIOs also need to develop a workforce strategy that reflects increased automation and integration of robotic capabilities as part of the workforce of the future. Intelligent machines can augment higher-end skills and automate routine tasks and decisions. Supplement that with highly skilled people who bring good judgment, effective collaboration and an entrepreneurial spirit and you have a workforce that can increase business value.

5. Become the ‘conductor’ of innovation

CIOs need to remain relevant by orchestrating and participating in innovation across the business. According to the 2015 Accenture Technology Vision, only 34 percent of the executives surveyed expect the IT organization to be the main generator of innovation. A contributing factor is the increasing number of “new IT” workers embedded in business and corporate functions, such as finance. As a result, innovation frequently takes place outside of, and independent of, the IT organization.

The CIO can increasingly be a catalyst for innovation and an influencer of change in other areas of the business. For example, helping Finance to use IT to support business goals to increase transparency or product profitability.

Preparing for the future

These five actions are not the only priorities for CIOs in the New Year. But for many, getting these areas right will make the difference between sitting in the pilot’s seat or, figuratively speaking, being left behind in the cockpit as the enterprises in which they work carve out their approach to digital disruption. As such, business resilience, like other best practices, must be woven into the fabric of IT to help the organization create rapid response capabilities that also mitigate associated risks.

Indeed, 2015 was a busy year for CIOs. But 2016 now lies ahead as a year of opportunity as CIOs work with their organization to deliver the solutions their companies need to secure their digital future.


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