Top 4 Ways CIOs Can Help CEOs with Their Digital Business Strategy

January 13, 2017 6:00 am Published by
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Digital transformation is rocking the foundation of industries across the globe. Big data, cloud computing, intelligent networks, Internet of Things (IoT), mobile devices, robotics and sensors are changing the way consumers interact with businesses and, in turn, how companies provide value to customers.

As your role as CIO becomes the primary adviser to the CEO on strategy, planning and implementation of technology, it is more important than ever.

In fact, the 2016 Gartner CEO Perspectives study, a survey of hundreds of CEOs, reported that a majority of the current top 10 CEO priorities are related to digitization initiatives. And a recent survey of CIOs at a Wall Street Journal CIO Network meeting revealed 70 percent of CIOs aspire to be CEOs.

With that in mind, here are four ways CIOs can help CEOs with digital business strategies and tactics in the months ahead.

After you read this, check out the Top 10 CIO Technology Priorities in 2017.

Share Digital Knowledge

The Gartner report showed that CEOs often garner much of their digital knowledge from peers in other industries.

This gives you the opportunity to coach them on how those concepts apply to your business and industry. CEOs will always be the leader in organizational change, but applying the right digital strategy requires deeper knowledge than most CEOs possess.

You can fill in the gaps for them while getting the resources and tools you need to manage the transformation.

Drive Innovation

Almost 60 percent of CEOs in market-leading firms actively pursue innovation rather than settle for gradual improvements, per a recent IBM report.

As CIO, you can help the CEO determine which digital technologies provide the best opportunity to innovate new ideas, iterate them faster and turn them into real-world gains in speed, efficiency and cost reduction.

You are best-equipped to delineate the optimal solutions to manage digital disruption and alter how the business operates on a daily basis.

Enlist Help to Improve Cybersecurity

Technological change is great, but often it seems to be racing ahead of the ability to keep it safe and secure. The Gartner study found that almost half of CEOs feel cybersecurity should be managed by the CIO rather than business departments.

As CIO, you are positioned to educate them on the issue and show the responsibility for technology security is a shared challenge.

Ray Kelly, an intelligence expert and former commissioner of the NYPD, said cyber is a part of every possible attack vector on corporations today, from conventional crime to political unrest in remote office locations. He notes that all managers, from the CIO to the CEO, must work on security together. Otherwise it gets moved down the corporate priority list, potentially putting the organization at risk.

Bridge the Digital Skills Gap

While recommending and implementing a variety of new technologies is part of your job, getting end users to use these tools is a different challenge.

Go ON is a digital skills charity in the UK dedicated to helping people develop basic digital skills. It counts 12 million people that lack digital skills to grow and prosper in today’s technological world. If current workers don’t have the requisite digital skills, training becomes critical to profitability.

A recent survey from Burning Glass Technologies reveals that digital is affecting “middle-skilled” jobs. These are jobs where applicants have more than a high school diploma but have not acquired a college degree.

The report showed that jobs in this sector requiring digital fluency are expanding much faster than non-technical jobs. Help the CEO determine where training dollars are best spent to ramp up your company’s digital skills.

As CIO, you have a lot more on your plate. But it’s also an excellent opportunity to help the CEO shape how your organization adapts to succeed in the new digital era.

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