The economy is causing us to reexamine our priorities. CIOs have a pretty extensive list of
critical issues to manage, and while they have been shuffled around a bit, it seems that
they are falling into four buckets.
Globalization: No matter how bad business gets, “the world is flat” and CIOs are focused on
making their global operations run more smoothly. The ability to connect, communicate and
collaborate across the globe in a seamless manner is no less a priority now than it was 60
or 90 days ago. Customers and suppliers all want to work with you in a real-time environment
on a global basis.
Transformation: Automating business processes, digitization, sustainability, imaging and
e-discovery are just a few examples of business initiatives that are gaining the attention
of the CIO as further cost efficiencies are required. No matter what the economic condition,
these initiatives will require your attention in the year ahead.
IT modernization: As Baby Boomers begin to retire (hopefully they still can) and companies
contemplate further standardization, the theme of IT modernization is coming up more and
more. Gartner recently
stated that this is a top priority because IT systems and services lack the agility to
respond to business requests for change. Increasing integration among portfolios, growing
obsolescence of deployed assets and a skills crisis throw fuel on the fire. I can see why
this is hitting your list.
Innovation and risk mitigation: Businesses that have the ability to balance these two
priorities during a difficult economic climate are going to be the ones that will rise to
the top when the dust settles. In a recent column by CIO Editor in
Chief Abbie Lundberg, Dave Olverson, director of IT and blogger of TechyPundit.com, states, “No risk means no
innovation. The trick is to embrace the risk and actively manage it because not doing so
means stagnation.” At the same time, one must make sure that the proper amount of risk is
being taken and measured to hopefully ensure some level of success. Finding the right
balance between these two takes a bit of art and science.
I am sure that your list is much longer than this, but if you are able to make headway on
these four big issues in the next 12 months, you will have had a very successful year.