CIO Priorities

2018 is just around the corner, bringing with it some significant pressures for business executives, who need to learn how to survive in an ever-changing world of digital transformation and market saturation.

As new technologies and business models continue to emerge, CIOs need to discover a way that they can stay ahead of existing and emerging competition in their space. This means selecting the right tools out of a host of options all the way from cloud computing, to machine learning, IoT, and predictive analysis. When managed properly, these new technologies can deliver some incredible results, including more dynamic and reliable products, lower costs, and enhanced supply chains. With that in mind, what should CIO’s be prioritising for 2018?

1.     Leading the Way to Digital Transformation

Today, most companies know that they need to embrace digital transformation or be left behind by swarms of evolving enterprises. Either you can figure out how you’re going to use technology in your space to outpace and outperform their competitors, or you could risk losing your entire customer base to someone more willing to make the effort.

According to a CIO Agenda survey, less than 40% of CIOs are currently overseeing digital transformation efforts. However, in spite of this, 55% of the companies without a pre-existing program for digital transformation suggest that they have less than a year to make a change.

2.     Living the Goal of “Customer-Centricity”

Speaking of transforming companies, we’ve entered a period in the evolution of enterprises where it’s no longer enough to simply serve customers. Today, consumers are more empowered than ever, and they expect organisations to structure themselves around the ideals of customer-centricity and experience.

Today, only around 57% of CIOs are saying that “customers” are their top priority. While this is a good shift upwards from only 45% in 2015, it’s still not enough to ensure success for many customers. By the end of 2018, every CIO should be spending at least 20% of their time with their customers.

3.     Discovering the Benefits of AI

Artificial Intelligence is still in a state of evolution right now, but that doesn’t mean that you should simply be ignoring it. Around one-third of large companies will be employing smart machines by 2021 according to Gartner. In fact, machine learning solutions are already a significant part of many businesses.

Applications and machines that can analyse, reason and gauge customer intent could be key to improving experience and delivering true digital transformation. In customer service, chatbots and digital assistants could help employees to make better decisions, while in marketing, tools could help to uncover where prospects are at each stage of the funnel, determining who is almost ready to buy.

4.     Prioritising Speed and Performance

Today, the speed of business is accelerating at a rapid pace. We need to discover and take advantage of new markets faster than ever if we want to stay ahead of the game, as well as rolling at new products quicker, and turning deliveries and contracts around faster too. If you’re not constantly responding to customer requests, then the chances are that you’re falling behind.

Fortunately, according to a Society for Information Management survey in 2017, evidence suggests that IT agility and flexibility are the fourth most important issue for IT management, rising from seventh in previous surveys.

5.     Prepare for Quantum Computing

Finally, quantum computing might sound like a sci-fi concept, but it’s something that all businesses need to be aware of in the current marketplace. Quantum computing accesses the ability of subatomic particles, which can exist in multiple states at any time. Operations can be done faster and use less energy than classic computers this way.

In 2016, Google and NASA scientists discovered that a D-Wave computer could be up to 100 million times faster than standard computers. Of course, moving quantum computing into an industrial scale can be difficult. IBM recently announced the development of a Q Division, which will be creating quantum computers designed to be sold commercially in the coming years.

Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.

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