The CIO's 4 Priorities for 2016

CIOs tend to focus on what is urgent, while neglecting what is important. They need to focus on four priorities for the next year.

If you had the luxury of focusing on one thing in 2016, what would it be? We polled nearly 1,000 Twitter users regarding their perception of the No. 1 resolution that chief information officers (CIOs) should have in 2016. Here’s a list of four areas where respondents feel CIOs should channel their resources in 2016 to meet growth expectations:
  1. Mobile apps 40% of respondents said mobile apps should top the CIO’s agenda. Only a select few enterprises have strategically employed mobile to drive business transformation and facilitate dynamic customer experiences. Given that there are now more mobile devices than people, mobile demands a place in every corporate strategy. So, it’s not surprising that poll respondents say CIOs should push mobile to the prime spot on their to-do lists. As they do, here are three things they should keep in mind:
    • Design and execute a strategy that considers customer needs and digital experiences spanning existing and new business models, agnostic of platform or device.
    • Do more than make the same content available on a smaller screen. Instead, focus on mobile’s fundamental distinctions (always accessible, convenient, high personalization), enabling increased engagement and delivery of a new and better customer experience.
    • Treat mobile as an enterprise-wide initiative and bring change to the entire organization (people, process and technology). This requires commitment and consistent messaging from leadership and cross-functional collaboration.
  2. Data-driven insights 25% of respondents to our poll said data-driven insights should be priority No. 1. CIOs who want to take the guesswork out of their decisions should explore the Internet of Things. CIOs can add sensors to people, places, processes and products across the value chain to capture and analyze information to advance the goals of the organization. By mapping different sensor outputs to enterprise events, companies can take “business activity fingerprints.” These data-driven, digital impressions can enable companies to match actual sensor outputs with pre-tested business scenarios to prioritize and direct resources, improve workplace safety, reduce wasted effort, streamline product and people flows, strengthen relationships with customers and increase revenue.
  3. Work more with the CMO 21% of respondents want the CIO to work more with the chief marketing officer (CMO), which is encouraging. The CMO is a critical part of the new digital world, yet our Digital IQ survey shows that the CIO-CMO relationship is the weakest and has been over the last three years. Collaboration is key to bringing all of the distributed investment together – and it appears we haven’t figured it out yet. Maybe 2016 is the year that CIOs and CMOs will work together productively to usher in digital transformation. Without a CIO-CMO partnership, digital deployments are shallow, instead of deep, and fail to live up to their revenue-generating potential.
  4. Emerging tech evaluation 14% of those who answered the poll say CIOs should spend more time on emerging technology evaluation. As they do, they should consider overhauling their process for filtering and prioritizing emerging technology. I often see three different types of approaches with varying degrees of success: 1) vendor-driven, 2) technology-driven and 3) business-driven. In the first approach, vendors are in the driver’s seat, and businesses can end up with cookie-cutter solutions late in the game. The second option, a technology-driven approach, can lead to deploying technology for technology’s sake rather than to advance the enterprise’s business goals. The last approach is ideal and driven by the unique needs of the business.
French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery said a goal without a plan is just a wish. Thinking about CIOs engaging in goal setting reminds me of the late Steven Covey’s Time Management Matrix. CIOs tend to focus on what is urgent, while neglecting what is important. Resolutions are always at risk of getting sidelined as CIOs focus on putting out fires rather than sowing seeds. CIOs need one additional resolution: to make what’s important as much of a priority as what’s urgent. Please share your No. 1 resolution in the comments section.

Chris Curran

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Chris Curran

Chris Curran is a principal and chief technologist for PwC's advisory practice in the U.S. Curran advises senior executives on their most complex and strategic technology issues and has global experience in designing and implementing high-value technology initiatives across industries.


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