Here are things CIOs should not overlook in 2019

Throughout recent years, the chief information officer position became a necessity for every well-functioning business out there. The continuing development and importance of modern technologies revolving around data, has brought CIOs to leading positions in envision, development and implementation of a company’s digital strategy. During last year, there was a lot of discussions within the CIOs community in regards to deep and machine learning, robotics, edge computing, and 5G. Despite all that, many CIOs are still relying on the infamous buzzwords of yesterday, like agile, DevOps and cloud. So why is that happening?

A recent report, called the Manifesting legacy, showed that although 55% of CIOs are currently serving as trusted operators, this pattern type will get reduced drastically, as the digital era progresses. So in order to stay on point, and help their organizations use the technology to its fullest potential, CIOs should develop themselves as “change instigators and business co-creators”.

The true power of CIO should come with the delivering of innovation and added value to any organization. All of this must be executed with a precise focus on possible business outcomes while maintaining customer experience as a top priority. But with often-encountered obstacles, like resourcing and legal system barriers, this can process can prove as quite a challenge. Additionally, both the specific software and systems are needed in order to provide a legit business transformation, and those can be hard to come by with. Modern software should be able to grow alongside new business ideas, to help CIOs enable their innovative ideas and move the company forward.

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So holding all of that in mind, let us discuss the challenges, most of the CIOs face today, and what software vendors need to do in order to help them succeed in the following year.

If IT is the key…

It is clear, that we need IT, all of its aspects regarding information and data are essential to any business. So given the importance of the technology in our digital transformation reality, which will only continue to accelerate, both CIOs and IT are needed. CIOs become involved more and more in ecosystems, regardless of their primal focus on either business goals, outcomes or visibility across a complex structure with all sorts of different technology partners. However, regardless of the exact title, you should never look at your CIO as a tool of “saving a bit of money”, or for the sake of “agility”. If any issues emerge in the process, they should be solved, not overlooked. Making basic mistakes, like deploying project without a proper security check, can lead you to crucial errors down the road as well as digital transformation failure. So your CIOs need to adapt – they need to show that they can manage the process of digital transformation. No part of your IT should be considered as a minor tool, on which you can easily cut costs if needed. Treat your CIOs as both protectors and creators of your business value.

Director of the UK CIO practice of specialist recruitment firm Harvey Nash, Natalie Whittlesey, highlights AI specifically, as one of the top priorities that should be in mind of an any successful IT leader: “There’s a lot of debate about the risks of the evolution of AI and ‘robots taking over the world’, but most CIOs know that AI and machine learning can bring significant benefits to their businesses. We’re seeing the use of AI in SaaS products, in other words increasingly CIOs are able to incorporate AI into their technology estate without all the investment required if it were ‘homegrown’”.

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Salesforce, Oracle and IBM Watson are all good examples of the solid providers here. Many CIOs are going even further, with trialing, investing and eventually making gains with the in-house AI pilots.

…Integration is the lock

 Delivering a friendly and effective experience across all of the customer touchpoints can be quite challenging, since the company should rely upon a deep understanding of its customer preferences, with the data used to inform this being taken from this pool of touchpoints. The main role of the CIO here is to adapt accordingly. Sometimes even seamlessly small integrations of customer-facing technology, such as billing platforms and CRM are, however, crucial in gaining the full perspective of the customer wishes and needs.

One of the biggest challenges that businesses face today, is the ultimate choice between a unified, single view on the customer, and lengthy and much broader integration processes which work as a hindrance to business processes and ongoing digital transformation goals. And neither of the processes is ideal, since each of them comes with a certain degree of a compromise, making finding the correct balance a serious problem for many businesses, going forward in 2019.

The second area of compromise is, of course, the old battle between ERP vs. point-focused software solutions. Is it better to invest in best-of-breed solutions for each application area, or go for the much simpler integration processes of ERP systems, with the risk that it will not match up to best of the breed? Some positive changes can be seen, however, with software vendors giving rise to a revolutionary “zero-integration model, which enables companies to “plug and play” market-leading, best-of-breed solutions with no integration. So the neverending debate can be finally over, offering the best of both worlds, which is undoubtedly a very exciting news for the sector.

But what about the usability?

More often than not, businesses will compromise on the usability of their chosen software systems because of added benefits of artificial intelligent elements, or because they simply fit certain requirements. In the long term, however, this will unlikely be proved as a valid strategy. Well established customer service relies mostly on the experienced and well-trained team of specialists that can use the business technology to its full advantage. The team must be confident and comfortable with using the technology in their everyday working routine. User-friendly software is more welcomed since it will maximize the skill and potential of your workers, thus giving the best result. It is not a secret, that great user experience gives great customer experience, which is ultimately the end goal for any successful business out there.