Before the pandemic hit, CIOs had been enabling organizational success in a highly dynamic and challenging role. After the pandemic ensued, the amplitude of change and agility increased overnight, impossible as that seemed. As businesses have become digital first, the leader of this change has been the CIO.\nTo gather more specific details and data about the impact of the pandemic on the CIO role, Adobe completed a survey of more than 500 CIOs around the globe. Perhaps the most intriguing overall finding is that CIOs in the U.S. are involved in 90% of the corporate initiatives to go digital that are currently under way. The CIO has truly become a critical corporate resource.\nThe survey tells us that it is specifically the digital-first and digital-transformation initiatives that have put the CIO at the center of the action.\n\u201cDespite the enormous weight on our shoulders, CIOs are stepping up to the challenge,\u201d said Cynthia Stoddard, senior vice president and CIO at Adobe. \u201cAlong with other business leaders, we have embraced our enhanced responsibilities and influence as an opportunity to further collaborate and succeed in today\u2019s new digital-first reality.\u201d\nThe emergence of the CIO as a critical partner is exemplified by the newest power duo in the organization: the CMO and CIO. These two senior executives are more than simply joined at the hip; they are working together closely to dramatically improve the customer experience (CX). Well over 90% of CIOs are now working with the CMO to improve CX and promote innovation.\n\u201cIt\u2019s no secret that close collaboration between IT and marketing teams leads to more personalized customer experiences on digital channels, but the COVID-19 impact has made this level of partnership indispensable,\u201d said Stoddard.\nThe survey also revealed that nearly 60% of CIOs meet with their CMO counterpart on a daily or weekly basis.\nPart of being a digital-first organization is providing the data that becomes the lifeblood of the organization. The survey found that CIOs are deeply involved in delivering and securing the data that drives the business. Providing and protecting data is the highest overall priority for the CIOs in the survey, and 71% list it as the most likely area for increased investment going forward.\nAn increased focus on the employee experience\nAnother key finding of the survey focuses on the employee experience. The pandemic created major changes in how work gets done, and an excellent digital employee experience has become vitally important and will remain so, since remote and hybrid work will continue into the foreseeable future. CIOs are on board with delivering and constantly improving digital employee experiences, and 89% see themselves as change agents for improving corporate culture and the employee experience.\n\u201cGiven the proven correlation between happy employees, satisfied customers, and overall business success, it\u2019s more critical than ever that CIOs prioritize any systems or business processes that improve collaboration, productivity, and overall employee experience,\u201d Stoddard said.\nThe pandemic hasn\u2019t so much changed the role of the CIO as sped up the pace of change and broadened the CIO\u2019s responsibilities. CIOs are in a unique position to understand, influence, and improve the business. For more information on the Adobe survey, click here.