How modern CIOs are freeing up time to lead strategy

Aug 01, 20224 mins
Artificial IntelligenceInternet of ThingsMachine Learning

Post-pandemic CIOs are now very much regarded as being at the core of the C-Suite, but they’re realising the greatest value they can provide is in guiding strategy rather than managing execution and support at the same time.

Credit: Shutterstock

According to Foundry’s State of the CIO 2022 research, the number of business leaders who now look to CIOs as strategic advisors has jumped 30 per cent since before the pandemic.

It’s a stark change from before the pandemic, where CIOs were considered essential strategic advisors by just 28% of company business leaders.

Because business operations during the pandemic have relied so heavily on technology performing well, CIOs are now a critical part of the team charged with figuring out how to efficiently adapt the mechanics of the business to rapidly changing business models, economic conditions, supply chain interruptions and staff shortages caused by “the great resignation”.

So how can CIOs drive transformational projects and activities without the proper/adequate resources?

Do less, but do it very well

Reliable, high-performance connectivity is now a prerequisite for business success. Without it, hybrid work can’t exist, cloud applications don’t perform adequately and online interaction delays frustrate potential customers.

But most importantly, without strong connectivity, businesses can’t take advantage of the newest advancements in technology such as hybrid multi-cloud architecture, Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and edge micro data centre deployment.

Network connectivity also needs to be flexible and scalable to address new challenges and opportunities that CIOs must manage.

According to a study sponsored by global telecommunication services provider, Colt Technology Services, 90% of CIOs say partnerships with suppliers are important for the success of technology implementations.

CIOs that work with partners achieve better results: three-fifths consider themselves more adaptive than their competitors in working with different partners in the ecosystem.

However many CIOs admit they’d like to do more with partners – 40% already consider themselves leaders in terms of collaboration with partners, while 57% would like to do much more to reach their desired level.

Getting high-quality connectivity across an organisation is more than selecting a fast pipe from an internet provider.

It requires strong industry partnerships with organisations that can quickly supply talented consultants, avoiding the skills crunch in the employment market, evaluating the whole network architecture and ensuring there are no weak links in the chain.

Successful CIOs realise they can’t do everything well all at once – supporting existing tech, driving tech innovation and leading the business.

Where they can add the most value is as strategic change makers while involving partners to manage existing tech and implement new projects.

What CIOs can achieve through partnerships

Partnering with a skilled connectivity expert helps overcome the tech talent shortage and deliver reliably through the provision of resources, proven ability to execute based on past customer projects, and resiliency to market changes.

Working with partners like Colt, who have three decades of experience supporting businesses through their digital transformation and with their digital infrastructure, can take the stress away and support CIOs with some of the increasing challenges they face.

This frees CIOs to focus more on developing their vision for improving customer experience; a strategy repeatedly demonstrated to improve profitability.

Over half of companies surveyed by Colt are using Net Promoter Score (NPS) / Customer Experience Index (CXI) in monitoring customer experience. 

Just over half (51%) of CIOs saw themselves as more flexible than their competition when it came to adjusting and updating the customer digital experience when needed.

This finding shows that improving customer experience is a huge opportunity area for Australian CIOs, especially as customer expectations on digital experiences are so high post-pandemic. 

CIOs are also increasingly turning their attention to leading their companies in achieving their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals – 82% say sustainability has a large impact on vendor selections, according to Colt’s research.

A third of CIOs believe they are already leaders in using ‘tech for good’, with a further two-thirds seeking large improvements in this area.

The growing industry-wide focus by CIOs on ESG will improve their companies’ stature as good corporate citizens and help win more business from clients seeking responsible suppliers to shore up their position.  

Download the Colt Technology Services study in 2022 on the CIO Mindset here.