How CIOs Can Retain and Make the Most of Their New Place at the Table


To stay afloat during the pandemic, organizations in almost every industry have had to accelerate change faster than ever imagined. In this time of crisis, CIOs not only gained buy-in from the C suite for digital transformation, but they also became leaders in adapting their strategy as their companies navigated unfamiliar virtual business models. Now that Covid-19 has sparked an increased appreciation among CIOs and the role of technology in driving strategic business change, technology leaders face a new challenge: to maintain their newfound influence and use it to propel their organization to the next level. ‘before.

As they tackle this challenge, some critical factors IT managers need to consider will be customers, business processes and procedures, people, and culture. While these factors have always been critical in digital transformation, they have evolved dramatically and businesses will need to strategically address them in the new normal. Below, I list six key steps to get them started.

Set up a continuous digital strategy

To continue building resilience, digital transformation initiatives remain at the top of most organizations’ to-do lists. Therefore, they will need to rely on both technology and business leaders to stay at the forefront of innovation, which means that CIO’s influence will only grow in the years to come. However, to remain competitive, IT leaders need to break out of the silos of digital initiatives and recognize that true transformation means evolving traditional business models and ecosystems for good.

To perceive digital transformation as a one-time project is a huge mistake, but unfortunately it’s also common. To implement an ongoing digital transformation program, CIOs must view the fundamentals of their digital strategy as a critical part of their business evolution. Those who maintain the digital momentum will be poised for future success.

Prioritize contingency planning

Companies that have agile decision-making processes that allow them to react quickly will thrive in the long run. In addition, organizations that prioritize forward-thinking risk management policies are positioning themselves for future weather disturbances.

A notable lesson learned from the past two years is that contingency planning is an absolute necessity. Of course, before 2020, many organizations had plans in place to mitigate natural disasters or workplace violence, but very little explained the possibility of a pandemic. This lesson highlights a rule of business continuity: It is essential to prepare for the unexpected, no matter how unlikely an event seems.

To avoid further damage, CIOs and their colleagues in the C suite should ask themselves, “Is my organization ready for another large-scale disruption?” “” Will my workforce function efficiently if we are forced to go virtual again? “” How do I budget for another recession? “

Establish an ongoing development and safety program

Organizations that historically relied on legacy IT systems have been forced to migrate to cloud-based technologies to access workloads remotely and, as a result, have undergone significant culture and process changes. Companies may think that they have overcome these obstacles sufficiently when they first encountered technical and cultural problems. However, the needs and wants of their people have probably already changed and they need to adapt accordingly.

As companies refine their business strategy and implement new digital procedures, the ones that empower employees will be the most successful, and the weight of this work does not lie solely on HR. CIOs are more familiar with newly adopted technologies and need to check their impact on business processes and on those who interact with the new technology – their employees. Then, they can team up with other business departments to create a continuing education program that frequently improves the skills of their staff.

Likewise, in 2020, most CIOs established new information security policies and led security training for their staff. Like skills upgrading and digital transformation, security is an ongoing process that will continue to be a critical part of the future of businesses, especially as digital technologies continue to create more data than previously thought. Therefore, they must train in parallel continuous skills upgrading, training and digital programs.

Stay customer-centric

Just like employees, customer needs and behaviors have changed dramatically over the past year.

When governments issued stay-at-home notices, to avoid losing customers, various grocers added multi-channel shopping experiences such as online ordering, curbside pickup and delivery features to their locations. Web. These changes have raised customer expectations for the future of grocery shopping and transformed novice computer users (such as senior customers) into expert online shoppers.

While some of these people may miss walking the aisle and ordering deli in person, others are hoping the online grocery store is here to stay. Therefore, to keep up with the competition, IT managers in grocery chains need to ensure that they have the capacity to maintain their current business model while exploring how they can further develop online operations and continue to refine the business. digital customer experience.

Systematically assess digital maturity

Over the past year, digital transformation metrics have relied on pandemic business models and the specific constraints of that time. Today, organizations are redefining digital success and the way it is measured. As companies continue to accelerate their digital projects, they must examine several KPIs to determine their digital maturity. While digital transformation metrics differ significantly across industries, the dimensions of these metrics are consistent across industries.

As CIOs continue to identify new ways to retain existing customers and reach new ones, measuring digital maturity from the customer’s perspective is also crucial. A common metric that business leaders and IT managers can use to examine customer relationships is customer turnover / attrition rate. Measuring the impact of a digital project from a workforce perspective can also be very revealing. Therefore, these organizations need to keep a close eye on cultural metrics such as Digital Required Skills Matching (DSN), which measures the availability of staff with the skills needed to drive digital efforts.

The pandemic has revealed an urgent need for remote communication technologies (i.e. Zoom and Microsoft Teams) that businesses previously did not use on a daily basis. While these video conferencing tools allowed for virtual face-to-face connection, in-person conference room strategy sessions were always missed. In truth, even with video calls, it is difficult for team members to work together effectively on projects.

Instead, as more CIOs strategize for their hybrid work models, they should consider fueling success with robust collaboration tools that allow employees to work together on complex issues. Forward-thinking companies using these post-pandemic collaboration platforms will not only connect team members through the ‘hybrid desktop’, but they will also efficiently streamline and accelerate digital and business initiatives.


We are now in a new normal and the increased appreciation of CIOs and the role of technology in dealing with the unexpected is an opportunity to consolidate their influence as a force for change. While the key drivers of digital transformation will continue to evolve, taking these six considerations into account will help you stay ahead of the curve and lead the company’s strategic change in the future.

Kevin McCaffrey, CEO, Tr3Dent

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