This text is a part of a VB particular problem. Learn the complete collection right here: The CIO agenda: The 2023 roadmap for IT leaders.

The strain is on for CIOs in 2023, specialists say, as chief data officers are known as upon to drive development and transformation, not simply hold the information middle buzzing and enterprise software program operating. 

“It’s about ‘present me the cash,’” Janelle Hill, chief of analysis for Gartner’s CIO apply, informed VentureBeat. After a decade of investing in digital, she defined, organizations need to know the worth of their investments, whereas on the identical time accelerating digital initiatives corresponding to synthetic intelligence and hyperautomation — and guaranteeing safety and privateness throughout an increasing assault floor. 

In line with Gartner’s 2023 CIO and Technology Executive Agenda, launched in October, CIOs count on IT budgets to extend 5.1% on common this 12 months — decrease than the projected 6.5% international inflation fee. That creates a triple squeeze — financial strain, scarce and costly expertise, and ongoing provide challenges — heightening the will and urgency to understand time to worth.

This particular problem from VentureBeat kicks off the brand new 12 months by tackling these points head-on. It contains deep dives into how CIOs can impress the board, and stakeholders, by getting probably the most worth from knowledge analytics, cloud platforms and even the metaverse. We’ll additionally give attention to hiring and retaining IT expertise to speed up digital initiatives whereas constructing manufacturers, and discover how AI and automation will help obtain sustainability, overcome biases, handle provide chain challenges and implement safety by means of the tech stack. 


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The CIO position has ‘by no means been extra strategic or near the enterprise’ 

“I bear in mind a time when IT was a fortress — the large IT tank that did all of the know-how,” recalled Penelope Prett, chief data, knowledge and analytics officer for Accenture. “What’s actually been attention-grabbing to observe is how briskly the position has accelerated as an ombudsman and a catalytic change agent for know-how impacting enterprise efficiency.” 

These adjustments have been accelerated in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, mentioned Fletcher Previn, SVP and CIO at Cisco. 

“The CIO and the entire IT staff, to a big diploma, is within the enterprise of assembly unmet wants,” he mentioned. “The pandemic created a sudden, pressing, lengthy checklist of unmet wants — the CIO was actually on the middle of what wanted to be finished for companies to climate that storm.” 

Because of this, he mentioned, the CIO position “has by no means been extra strategic or near the enterprise.” The CIO is now seen as extra of a staff chief executing an organization’s transformation, fairly than only a mandatory value to maintain the corporate’s infrastructure buzzing.

“It’s a false impression, or not less than a miscalculation, to think about the CIO as a sort of conventional back-office position and this expense that you just want you didn’t have,” mentioned Previn. “An excellent CIO wants to grasp agile methods of working devops software program growth, automation, consumer expertise and design, analytics and knowledge, after which the enterprise aims. After which, at identical time, be capable of lead a company, drive a expertise technique and entice one of the best folks.” 

For Juan Perez, CIO of Salesforce, a key factor is establishing “enterprise intimacy” as a way to enhance the CIO’s relevance and skill to ship enterprise worth to the C-suite and board, amongst different stakeholders. Enterprise intimacy permits the CIO and their staff to drive outcomes and enhance productiveness and effectivity at scale, as a result of it results in a higher understanding of enterprise wants, he defined. 

“CIOs have a dotted line to each enterprise chief — together with the CEO, CFO, CMO and others — every of whom is being requested to do extra with much less,” he identified. “By carefully partnering with key enterprise leaders, CIOs will help prioritize amid price range constraints and ship the know-how wanted to extend effectivity, enhance outcomes and decrease prices.” 

At John Deere, the CIO position has developed to be a deep influencer and key enabler of a company’s technique, mentioned CIO Raj Kalathur. Kalathur detailed the corporate’s transition from manufacturing heavy equipment to making use of knowledge, automation and autonomy to develop new services and create extra personalised experiences for purchasers, sellers, suppliers and Deere staff. 

“For instance, we revealed a monetary ambition to attain a 20% working return on gross sales for all tools operations by 2030,” he mentioned. “In help of this ambition, John Deere is advancing our core manufacturing know-how stack to unlock important financial worth throughout our operations. We’re positioned to leverage industry-leading applied sciences (5G connectivity, IoT platforms, digital twin/digital thread) to optimize labor, cut back property/stock and enhance high quality and buyer satisfaction.” 

The adaptable CIO

Jane Zhu, CIO of Veritas Applied sciences, leads a mixed group that features IT, facility, finance shared service, knowledge analytics and program administration capabilities. These obligations, she mentioned, give her a novel alternative to see how the enterprise capabilities from finish to finish and apply that information to make the CIO position more practical.

“I see the position of the CIO as being adaptable and forward-thinking as digital transformation continues to be top-of-mind,” she defined. As many organizations attempt to consistently be extra environment friendly, extra versatile and due to this fact extra worthwhile, she added, CIOs should lead the cost in serving to firms adapt to advances in know-how and the complexities that come together with them, particularly in regard to new cloud applied sciences corresponding to collaboration instruments to help an more and more distributed workforce.

That doesn’t imply that CIOs solely care about know-how and can’t be people-oriented leaders inside a company, Zhu emphasised. 

“Essentially the most profitable CIOs are going to have the ability to steadiness and collaborate with different members of the C-suite to drive significant outcomes for your complete group,” she mentioned. “This additionally signifies that we’ve got a significant hand in guiding the IT tradition inside our organizations, which is particularly essential to foster given the rising impression of the cyberskills scarcity on staff inside IT.” 

Forrester Analysis VP and senior analysis director Matt Guarini recently predicted that 80% of firms will pivot their innovation efforts “from creativity to resilience.” That’s, fewer moonshot investments, and extra give attention to short-term beneficial properties to make companies extra productive and adaptive in unsure occasions. Which means turning to applied sciences that ship speedy worth, like AI, automation and machine studying. 

“I believe it’s clear that the trail to delivering extra from our backlog at a higher-quality degree, with decrease threat and fewer audit findings and so forth, is automation, AI and reusing issues that we’ve already constructed,” mentioned Cisco’s Previn. “Automating your complete construct, take a look at and deploy phases of what we do is a large focus, together with all of the controls.” 

Salesforce’s Perez added that companies will search for methods to make it simpler for workers to get their jobs finished. This may embody infusing synthetic intelligence and automation throughout each line of enterprise — to avoid wasting time, and to extend worker satisfaction by automating repetitive duties to assist each staff give attention to probably the most impactful work.

“Automation will more and more turn out to be ubiquitous as a result of it reduces the work that people must do on repetitive or monotonous duties, which suggests extra time to supply a greater expertise for purchasers and decrease stress for inside groups,” he mentioned. “In reality, 79% of automation users say these instruments gasoline productiveness.”

AI also can assist enhance income by delivering deep insights about each particular person buyer primarily based on previous interactions, he defined.  

“For instance, monetary options firms can use Salesforce’s Einstein AI know-how to extend gross sales win charges by merely offering its gross sales reps with AI-powered insights in actual time, or use AI to extend the accuracy of a money receivables forecast, or allow customer support groups to scale by routinely delivering AI-based product or help suggestions,” he mentioned. 

Cybersecurity and the CIO

Cisco’s Previn recalled that when the pandemic hit, the preliminary focus was on having sufficient VPN capability and working remotely. However the focus shortly shifted to safety. 

“What do we have to do to shore up our safety and rework our community?” he mentioned. “The main focus turned: Clearly that is going to be an everlasting manner of working — what are the long run penalties of this?” 

That perspective is mirrored in a Gartner report that discovered that two-thirds of respondents mentioned that cyber- and data safety can be a high space of elevated funding for 2023. As firms look to handle the enterprise threat posed by escalating threats, Gartner forecasts that worldwide data safety and risk-management spending by finish customers will attain $188.3 billion in 2023, up 11.3% from 2022. Gartner estimated that spending on safety would develop 7.2% in 2022 in contrast with 2021.

Total, CIOs should foster a tradition of belief throughout their organizations to boost worker and buyer experiences by making safety seamless and frictionless throughout folks, processes, technique and platforms, mentioned Milind Wagle, CIO at Equinix. “A radical safety framework ensures that innovation and daring methods are grounded with the best risk-appetite.” 

The race for tech expertise

In line with the Gartner report, many CIOs proceed to wrestle to rent and retain IT expertise as they intention to speed up digital initiatives. Nevertheless, the survey recognized quite a few untapped sources of know-how expertise. For instance, solely 12% of enterprises use college students (by means of internships and relationships with faculties) to assist develop technological capabilities and solely 23% use gig employees.

“The enterprise is simply so extremely depending on know-how, and all people’s struggling to get know-how expertise — they’ve misplaced expertise by means of the Nice Resignation,” mentioned Gartner’s Hill. “Talent areas which can be highly regarded, like cybersecurity, AI, any sort of superior analytics, even cloud migration — they simply can’t discover sufficient folks to try this.” 

There could also be a chance to select up some expertise from the Massive Tech layoffs, she mentioned, however added that one in every of Gartner’s greatest messages to CIOs is to cease utilizing the identical standard methods everybody else is utilizing to draw expertise. 

For instance, “Break the boundaries that your organization artificially imposes that may restrict your expertise, like one particular person, one job, one supervisor,” she mentioned. “If I’m an information scientist working for the CMO and I’ve a gradual interval, why can’t I work some place else and use my expertise elsewhere?”  

Right here’s the conclusion: Greatest alternatives for the CIO

Total, the CIO has an incredible alternative, mentioned Equinix’s Wagle, who defined that the CIO position comes with “a rare vantage level of visibility into each single side of a whole group’s operations.”

CIOs will help break down silos, he mentioned, as a result of they’ll perceive what’s going on in all divisions of the enterprise. “We will determine the place know-how will help enhance productiveness or herald efficiencies to drive the corporate’s total success.” 

Right now’s CIO, he emphasised, ought to “declare their rightful place” within the management. “Undertake a strategic associate and in-service mentality,” he mentioned, “to make each different C-suite chief profitable.” 

The chance proper now, added Accenture’s Prett, is what she calls probably the most “open-minded time within the historical past of the world” in terms of know-how. 

“Individuals who had beforehand rigid stances about what they considered know-how or its use, that they had all these paradigms damaged in the course of the pandemic,” she mentioned. “They’re open to listening to tales that they may not have contemplated earlier than, so the chance is to start out speaking.” 

It’s a second in time, added Gartner’s Hill, the place a CIO can actually exhibit their enterprise govt management competency. 

“In 2020, initially of COVID, there was a have to go [to] distant working virtually in a single day,” she mentioned. “And boy did the CIO step up; they gained large credibility.” 

However now it’s one other second, she added, when CIOs have to ship and exhibit how know-how will help the enterprise thrive and develop. 

“Now’s the time to actually convey it ahead in a enterprise context,” she mentioned. “That’s the largest alternative.”

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