Key themes for CIOs for 2018 include many of the same themes seen at the beginning of 2017, but with differing priorities. For example, the significance of agile development has been known for decades, but others in the organization, including fellow C-suite executives, have only just begun to realize its importance to the bottom line. Agility moves up this year in importance for CIOs and CEOs alike, as demands for speed and productivity continue to drive agility and innovation in both software development and business operations.
As IT departments will continue to have to do more with less, CIOs are shifting priorities, focusing more on the digital ecosystem to meet demands for connected lifestyles. Budget constraints have driven IT departments to innovation, despite slowing the market a bit, and to finding ways to accomplish what needs to be accomplished in the leanest, most cost-effective ways possible. Behind every great business though, are great customers, and so as part of cost-saving ways to meet customer needs and bring products and services to market faster, increased customer interaction tops this year’s list of four key themes for CIOs in 2018.
- Improve Customer Interaction
This year, CIOs plan to meet and interact more with customers, and not just digitally. CIOs plan to meet live with customers, inquiring as to their pains and positive experiences, looking to understand how these needs can be solved through innovation.
CIOs want to know — even better than the customer themselves know — what customers want. More and more, CIOs are finding room in their busy schedules to invest time with customers, and have made interaction and improved satisfaction a higher priority. The largest investment in live customer engagement is the CIO’s time, and companies are finding that time to be worth every dime.
Deloitte conducts a global survey each winter to determine global CIO priorities for the coming year. The most successful CIOs responded that customers were their top priority for 2018. Less than half of these same CIOS, though, said they believe their IT departments improve customers’ experiences with their products or services. Improved live engagement between CIOs and customers is predicted to help them better understand customer pains and needs, and to be able to integrate new ideas into IT development and business processes.
- Increase Delivery Speed with Agility and Automation
More than ever, CIOs are gaining power and recognition as the rest of the organization now realizes the importance of IT innovation and how much its support is tied to the business’ success. Despite increases in value recognition, though, CIOs still must plan to do more, faster, better, and with less. Agility and automation are necessary to improve speed of delivery to keep up with market and business demands.
CIOs and IT executives responding to a survey from The Society for Information Management indicated that speed and agility had moved up in priority for 2018 (going from ninth in 2017 to fifth). Increasingly, the market is demanding more, faster, and IT budgets are still too slow to expand. Since speed of delivery has not kept pace with demand, prioritizing agility both in development and in business processes is predicted to improve time to market within business constraints. Until budgets have more room for expansion, CIOs must emphasize agility and automation to cut costs and improve speeds while staying within difficult budgetary parameters.
- Utilize More Quantitative Analytics
Quality and innovation are measured more and more precisely by the rise in the accepted superiority of quantitative analytics. Efficiency, quality, reliability, and product and service satisfaction as well as customer experience are measured automatically, using quantitative data to improve accuracy, prove project success, and show how IT and information systems contribute to a business’ overall revenue growth. From the customer journey through a website, to other aspects of the customer experience, quantitative analytics has become recognized as the key method not only for business process and customer experience improvement, but as means to new income sources for companies.
- Venture Further into the Digital Ecosystem
Entirely new business models and huge revenue streams are being created through the digital ecosystem, the Internet of Things (IoT). Quantitative data analysis not only helps to improve quality and customer satisfaction, it also opens entirely new streams of revenue, as the IoT tracks user data, revealing fresh insights into customer behavior. By the year 2020, the IoT market is predicted to reach $7.1 trillion in value, nearly twice the size of current IT-related markets.
In conclusion, while the role of the IT organization is being recognized more and more as a primary source of revenue growth, CIOs hope to continue this recognition as they strive to improve customer satisfaction through interaction, automation, and innovation. Speed and agility have jumped in priority, with many CIOs still struggling to match results with goals in these areas. Many CIO goals for 2018 resemble those of 2017, only with a different focus. Having laid the groundwork for improvement by recognizing 2018 CIO priorities though, perhaps a fresh, new set of priorities will emerge for 2019 and beyond.