Here are some insights and tips to help chief information officers (CIO) transform along with the digital evolution.

In the past, people used to say that information security was everybody’s responsibility. Today, digital transformation is everybody’s responsibility.

Market research firm IDC predicts that by 2025, 75% of business leaders in the Asia-Pacific region will be leveraging digital platforms and ecosystem capabilities to adapt their value chains to new markets, industries, and ecosystems.

For Everise, embracing new technologies helped us move faster with digital transformation initiatives. To us, the basics of the technology that enables digital transformation and evolution will change over time, but for 2021, four broad areas stand out:

  • Experience transformation
    This can cover the enhancement of both customer and employee experience management. There are digital experience platforms that can provide businesses with a consistent voice across all channels, including voice, email, social media, chat, chatbots and more.

    This theme also covers support for Work-From-Home (WFH) scenarios, with underlying technology stacks that ensure an employee experience for collaboration, security and accountability that mirrors that of in-office work environments. 

    In keeping with the concept of digital evolution, we are likely to move from WFH scenarios to some form of hybrid work. Support needs will need to be split between office-based and WFH environments.

    Other use cases that transform experiences include virtual help desk assistants, smart candidate screening, onboarding of new hires using chatbots, and remote desktop monitoring.
  • AI and automation
    A modern, competitive customer experience strategy must augment what is uniquely human, (like emotional intelligence and creativity) with the efficiency and scalability of AI. According to Deloitte, process efficiency tops the list of benefits achieved with AI among organizations.

    Use cases include AI-powered chatbots that understand the way we speak, in order to hold intelligent conversations with customers and employees in multiple languages. Such voice-based virtual assistants can alleviate human customer service officers’ workloads and even deliver a better customer experience by resolving issues more quickly.

    With cybersecurity concerns increasing in priority for chief information officers (CIOs), AI is going to be a trend, too. There are too many cyber threats today to rely on just traditional, reactive technology. We can adopt a proactive stance with AI as it can identify potential cyber threats quickly on both the predictive and prescriptive levels.

    When it comes to automation, robotic process automation can unlock magnitude-level increases in efficiency by freeing up time that is currently wasted on time-consuming, repetitive tasks. Re-examine vital but inefficient processes to see if these can be creatively completed with readily-available RPA solutions. Look at where the maximum benefits can be achieved, and if the outcomes align with business expectations.
  • Data and analytics
    Real-time dashboards can surface relevant business intelligence, performance analytics, and actionable insights on the customer experience you provide, and on agent performance.

    Solutions with more data connectors offer more functionality, as these will provide more sources of data for real-time reports. When analytics is combined with AI, in-depth business intelligence can be achieved.
  • Governance and compliance
    The details vary from geography to geography, but compliance is essential everywhere. It can range from productivity monitoring (e.g., ensuring that your WFH employees are who they say they are, and that they are actually working) to ensuring that they are not using their phone cameras to capture critical, sensitive data.

The CIO as a business leader

Chief Information Officers should also address their responsibilities as business leaders, making sure that they play a balanced role between IT and the business. It is about focusing on how technology contributes towards the top and bottom lines of their organizations as well as on customer- and employee- satisfaction.

In coming up with a new solution or implementation, CIOs should look at the people and the process side of the organization in addition to the IT side. Ask if the project will change the way businesses can add value to their customers. Make sure the right people understand the benefits of deploying that solution. If not, your shiny new project may not actually see much adoption when stakeholders stay away.

At Everise, I have found that involving business stakeholders in the planning process is critical for a CIO’s project success. Stakeholders are the end-users of the technology, after all. It is that strong collaboration between IT and business which will ensure the success of the digital transformation project.

Four success factors
In summary, CIOs should take note of four factors that can boost the success rate of their projects:

  1. The right IT solutions team
    Your IT solutions team should act as a bridge between IT and business. When your team is part of all the business meetings, team members can take note of the challenges discussed, and then think about how IT can give a helping hand to resolving them.

    Their relationship with the right external partners is also going to be very important if they are to bring the right solution to the business and address the business challenges on time.
  2. The right technology partners
    A good technology partner should act as an extension of the IT function of an organization. Partners have to work closely with your business, with your customer problems, with your business challenges, and make sure that that you have the right solutions available.
  3. The right technology solutions
    This is technology that helps the business move faster. Before you start a digital transformation project, ask what business challenges the new digital solution will address, and whether it helps the business succeed.
  4. The right stakeholders are involved
    When projects are driven by the senior executive team, it can make a big difference in getting buy-in from the rest of the business. Ensure that business stakeholders are involved from the beginning, and senior executives too.

With the recommendations above, CIOs will be prepared to help their businesses succeed in 2021, thereby succeeding at their own remit.