In today’s transformative business environment, emerging technology has a decisive role to play in an organization’s innovations, customer experience and overall success. While business leaders have the greatest insight about the organization’s needs and objectives (and likely have new ideas on how to achieve those objectives), the CIO has the greatest knowledge of what is possible — along with an understanding of emerging technologies and how they can be used.
Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), augmented reality (AR), the Internet of Things (IoT) and quantum computing can help organizations scale on demand, improve resiliency, minimize infrastructure investments and deploy solutions rapidly and securely. These technologies can help companies create powerful transformations to drive revenue and outshine the competition. Combining the insights of business leaders with the technical expertise of the CIO leads to synergistic decision-making that differentiates organizations and brings prized marketplace disruption.
Smart CIOs recognize the need to facilitate organizational cultures that support innovation and governance functions. They start by understanding the organization’s business objectives, then apply emerging technology to:
- Automate processes where financially feasible
- Leverage data to make better business decisions and enable personalized customer experiences
- Visualize data and analytics to drive greater insights
- Create new capabilities through innovative thinking
- Address gaps in resources and skillsets to ensure that anticipated value is achieved through transformation.
Automate Where Possible
Assess existing processes to determine current building blocks. Then, identify repeatable processes that are ideal candidates for hyper automation, which applies advanced technologies such as AI and ML with robotic process automation (RPA). Repetitive, labor-intensive tasks that do not result in skills growth and are not rewarding to employees can be performed by machines so that staff can focus on higher-level, more rewarding work. Using data to implement and improve processes lets organizations take advantage of the rapidly-evolving field of machine learning to gain significant ROI.
Enrich to Empower
Power business decisions with enriched data. Organizations should understand the data available to them, then filter and organize strong data analytics[LLR1] [H(2] , enabling smarter business decisions. By 2026, one trillion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be in use and each device generates endless data on demographics, purchasing decisions and profiles. Harness and enrich this flood of data to improve business decisions, gaining competitive advantage through enhanced operations and personalized customer experiences.
Visualize for Value
Visualization technology makes data more meaningful. For example, organizations can level-up data visualization using AR to make data visually available in near real-time while also providing real-time feedback to staff who must make difficult, instant decisions based on the information they have on hand.
Innovation May Require Long-Term Investment
CIOs have the potential to expand the realm of the possible for their organizations as they think of new ways to leverage emerging technology for efficiency, competitive advantage or market share. But, some tools will require long-term investment.
Quantum computing will require businesses to think differently about challenges and how they can go about solving them. Quantum will enable organizations to have exponential increases in computing capability and will make it possible to solve problems that cannot be solved today. But as with other emerging technologies, long-term planning and workforce training is required.
Collaborate Early and Often
Investment in emerging technology is both a risk/reward assessment and an investment/return decision. Soliciting input from all members of the C-suite is important for a holistic, comprehensive business case. In addition, it is important that organizations recognize ROI may be a long-term play, as short-term ROI may not fully reflect the potential technology brings. While all C-suite members work toward common business goals, there will be issues that are of particular importance to each, including:
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO) – Emerging technology presents difficult investment decisions that can result in runaway costs. Preemptively implementing controls can save money by reigning in expenses.
- Chief Risk Officer (CRO) – Emerging technology brings new risks. It is critical that CROs identify and mitigate those risks to minimize impact on ROI.
- Chief Audit Executive (CAE) – New technology requires updated skillsets. Staff with the requisite training is essential to auditing new technology and ensuring it is operating as intended. CAEs should also realize the importance of refreshing the risk profile and internal audit plans regularly to cover emerging technology risks.
- Chief Data Officer (CDO) – Enabling emerging technology for the organization is largely dependent on the CDO. Close collaboration and alignment between the CDO and CIO are key.
- Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) – Ensuring that the C-suite has a strong understanding of the customer experience is critical to the value brought by emerging technology. CMOs enable this understanding.
It is important that organizations ensure the following actions are taken in their technology enablement journeys:
- Leverage existing assets by assessing current technology, using current building blocks such as data sources, technology and talent
- Set a foundational understanding among the C-suite about how the business will transform and how it will get there
- Facilitate engagement between the CIO and business leaders so the CIO understands business goals and the desired customer experience
- Develop a change enablement culture. Embrace employee empowerment and develop training programs to provide new skills as the organization modernizes, helping employees feel safe from the real or perceived job security threat from automation
- Swiftly qualify what is of value to the organization and what is a fad
Emerging technologies can be powerful tools to help companies solve business problems, scale on demand, improve resiliency and deploy technology solutions rapidly and securely. Begin by conducting a digital maturity assessment, identifying areas where emerging technology could provide the greatest value or enable the organization to deliver its strategies with greater certainty or at a faster pace. Have effective change management during the transition, otherwise any technology program will never truly reap the intended benefits. The most successful CIOs of the future will be those who seamlessly provide optimal customer and employee experiences while enabling business innovation.
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Managing Director, Emerging Technology Services
Managing Director, Emerging Technology Services
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perhaps, ….”organize it to provide strong data analytics…” [H(2] [H(2]