by Clare Brown

CIOs discuss their top priorities for 2020

Jan 09, 2020
CIOIT LeadershipIT Strategy

At the start of this new year, CIOs are focusing on more than just technological innovations and the latest greatest app or gadget to bring into their organization. Theyu2019re turning big picture, identifying ways to seamlessly embed technology into the company culture and achieve company growth goals.

high priority gauge
Credit: Thinkstock

It’s the start of a new year, a new decade even. Pivotal moments in time like these call for new resolutions; an analysis of what’s brought us to where we are and the envisioning of where we’d like to go and how we plan to get there.

In that spirit, we kicked off this new year with an #IDGTECHTalk Twitter Chat on CIOs top priorities for 2020.

What unfolded was a deep dive into improving operations as a whole – beyond technology itself – through things like better training, understanding organizational goals, and strengthening communication. While the cloud, cybersecurity and analytics will always be important, in 2020 CIOs are looking bigger picture at ways to better integrate technology and enable greater success.

Priority 1: Understanding the business as a whole

During the chat there was an overwhelming agreement on the importance of understanding the business as a whole.

Worst CIO bad habit ever is getting overly enamored with technology, while ignoring goals of the business. A CIO that doesn’t understand the business is a failed CIO. Combined with a CIO that thinks infosec important, but not a priority. That’s a big mistake. #IDGTECHTalk –Ben Rothke (@benrothke), Senior Information Security Specialist with Tapad

CIOs cannot operate in a vacuum. Technology is a pivotal component of every organizations function, operations and growth. A CIO must understand every aspect of the organization in order to properly align the IT strategy to the overall business growth objectives.

Get out of the ‘technology as a destination’ mentality (e.g. I need to go to cloud). Business goals/value are the destination, tech is just a vehicle to get there. #IDGTECHTalk –Ed Featherson (@efeatherston), Vice President and Principal Cloud Architect for Cloud Technology Partners (CTP)

Priority 2: Technology enabling communication and collaboration

Communication and collaboration came to the forefront in a discussion on creating a digital friendly culture within the organization. Technology should be used to create opportunities for communication and collaboration. And there should also be open dialogue within the company about the technology itself and creating a safe environment for people to test out and get excited about the tools they’re using.

Factor in some change management psychology/training into the deployment. Many people fear becoming irrelevant or being seen as irrelevant the moment new technology is introduced. #IDGTECHtalkSteven M. Prentice (@StevenPrentice), speaker, author and founder of The Bristall Group

Encouraging innovation at all levels can help to create and support a digital-friendly culture. To support this, I appreciate the practice of the “blameless postmortem” #IDGTECHtalk –Amanda Hendley (@amanda_hendley), President and Managing Director of CMG

CIOs should revamp their teams to add/prioritize 5 new skillsets including automation, networking, security, machine learning and collaboration (the human kind). 2020 CIOs would benefit from a more balanced IQ and EQ. #IDGTECHTalk –Adam Stein (@apstein2), Principal of APS Marketing

Priority 3: Better and more consistent training

In line with communication was the topic of training, which revealed a collective conviction that CIOs, their support teams, and everyone else within an organization need to be properly trained in order for the company to be successful.

Too many items to list. A few include encouraging collaboration & embracing transparency. Effective training is critical as far too many firms throw out digital solutions but never train staff on how the various systems work & interoperate. #IDGTECHTalk –Ben Rothke (@benrothke), Senior Information Security Specialist with Tapad

We must often adjust the skillsets of not only our teams, but ourselves to provide a competitive advantage to our organizations. As CIOs, if our departments get too far behind the chance of catching up is low. Don’t let your department become a legacy system. #IDGTechtalk –Jason James (@itlinchpin), writer, speaker, and CIO for Net Health

Constant skill upgrading is a must but also is pre-software implementation training for end users. I also think skilling should be also tied to the business problems they are trying to solve today and to tackle potential problems/opportunities of tomorrow. #IDGTechtalk –Arsalan Khan (@ArsalanAKhan), speaker, advisor, and blogger on Business and Digital Transformation

Especially when it comes to the CIOs role in securing the enterprise, training is critical to maintaining an organizations defense against cybercrime.

Priority 4: Implementing AI

One specific technology that was discussed in depth was Artificial Intelligence and the expanding role it will play within the organization.

Top priorities still remain security, cloud computing and analytics. But this year CIOs should be starting their implementation of AI tech, although it needs to be focused on a particular workload/problem, and not generic. #IDGTECHtalk –Jack Gold (@jckgld), Principal analyst & founder at J. Gold Associates, LLC

There is a lot of opportunity for AI to optimize the organization and provide competitive advantages. But CIOs are also tasked with investing in AI wisely, wielding its power into something useful and growth oriented.

If AI enhancement of business cycles in cx, finance, operations, and core product is not on the roadmap for the CIO, your CIO may be either distracted or not have the domain expertise in-house your org needs for market competitiveness. #IDGTECHtalk –Wayne Anderson (@DigitalSecArch), Security and Compliance Architect with Microsoft’s M365 Center of Excellence

Technology has permeated every facet of the organization and CIOs are looking to create a culture of exploration and excitement around the opportunities that technology bring. This also comes with the responsibility of selecting the right tools for their unique organizations in an overcrowded field. CIOs are up to the task.

Please join us for our next #IDGTECHtalk Twitter chat on January 23rd at 12pm ET. We will be livestream discussing cybersercurity within the Enterprise. See you there!