According to this expert, IT leaders should capitalize on the elevated status to make IT more than just a support function.

With the COVID-19 pandemic surfacing concerns around organizational readiness and their ability to weather challenges, the digital age has created new benchmarks of expectations where economies, jobs and personal lives are far more connected and automated than before.

Today, the top priority for many businesses is implementing technology solutions that build cyber-resilience. This has given CIOs a bigger platform on which to showcase their ideas and influence business changes.

Now that CIOs have been given their Board’s attention, let us look at the IT wish list and what they envision for tomorrow’s digital age.

Data capabilities that boost CX

Organizations today are no strangers to AI and ML. They have seen consumer behavior move dramatically towards omni-channels and have responded accordingly with more automation and data insights.

Most are still in the nascent stage of AI and ML adoption and are making use of generic, readily available AI-driven tools without investing in R&D to optimize these tools for their businesses.

CIOs can take the opportunity to influence business decisions to double down on AI and ML solutions to automate customer and employee experiences. More importantly, this will boost data and analytics capabilities, allowing them to harness predictive insights to preemptively identify and solve any potential challenges the customer may face, while personalizing the customer experience (CX).

Some examples of these include using automated warehouses to speed up deliveries, and utilizing robots for housekeeping duties. In some large retail giants, machine vision is being brought in to scan shelves, manage inventory, and even make purchase suggestions to shoppers. Their use of AI has eliminated the need for cashiers and created a walk-in, walk-out, checkout-free experience.

IT needs to be part of value-creation

According to Deloitte study, businesses expect CIOs and their teams to be consistently improving business processes, reducing cost and driving the efficiency of their IT systems.

However, CIOs also understand that their role is no longer just about cost-reduction and the mere adoption of IT solutions. As business partners, CIOs also want to be a part of the value creation process for the business. While software can bridge the gap between the CIO’s agenda and the IT capabilities of the company, it will not provide innovative growth that will guide the company’s digital transformation—this conversation begins in the boardroom.

When CIOs win a strong case for greater investments and higher adoption of advanced IT operations management software, the IT team can accelerate and elevate IT management capabilities by providing end-to-end automation of functional areas across hybrid environments.

At the same time, this will expand the reach of improved IT operations that empower business efficiency and innovation by offering critical insights into the work environment to cut response times; helping managers to make more-informed decisions; and improving staff efficiency—all without having to replace the current IT infrastructure.

Embedding DX within the business strategy

In the boardroom, dialog on technology is often too centered on the defense strategy and not enough on prevention. CIOs want to be empowered to drive meaningful discussions on developing digital capabilities to drive new business models while building cyber resilience to overcome any challenges. Digital transformation (DX) in the company must start from the ground up, around the business strategy.  

Businesses need to understand their IT capabilities in order to succeed, and this means that C-suite leaders must pivot away from the traditional mindset of IT being a support function and realize its value-driving qualities. With this mindset, management needs to embed technological innovation in the company culture, giving CIOs and their teams a bigger platform and more opportunities to showcase ideas, exchange knowledge and inspire innovation.

At the same time, CIOs need to be more vocal about getting the tech conversation going in the boardroom to keep it top of mind. This begins with CIOs understanding how new and emerging technologies can tie back to evolving business strategies and models, and highlighting the business benefits of IT initiatives to the Board.

Boosting a business’s digital growth to support market demands would require CIOs to start the ball rolling on the reinvention of the digital strategy of the company. The end goal is for companies and C-suite leaders to enable CIOs to spearhead IT initiatives that are high-impact, and for CIOs to have the ability to educate important stakeholders on the value of IT to ensure change cascades across the entire organization.

Now that they are in the spotlight, CIOs have unprecedented opportunities to drive meaningful change on the digital front that will keep their businesses relevant and ahead of the competition. And at the top of their wish list is a board that will give them their attention now—and into the future.