My Key Themes for 2018
Key themes for Chief Information Officers (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 mostly shifting priorities, but 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, so, as part of cost-saving ways to meet customer needs and bring products and services to market faster, more customer interaction tops this year’s list of 4 key themes for CIOs in 2018.
1. Improve Customer Interaction and Satisfaction.
CIOs this year plan to meet and interact more with customers, not just interacting with them digitally or through numbers. CIOs plan to meet live with customers, inquiring as to their pains and positive experiences both, seeking in person how customer needs can be solved through innovation among their technology teams.
CIOs want to know what customers want, better than the customer themselves know. More and more, CIOs are finding room in their busy schedules to make the investment of time with customers, and they have made customer interaction and improved customer satisfaction a higher priority this year than last. The largest investment in live customer engagement is the time of the CIO, and companies are finding the time to be worth every dime.
Deloitte conducts a global survey each winter for CIOs 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, reported that they believe their Information Technology departments improve customers’ experiences with their business’ product or service. Improved live engagement between CIOs and customers is predicted to help CIOs better understand customer pains and needs, to be able to integrate new ideas into IT development and business processes.
2. Increase Delivery Speed with Agility, 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 business success. Despite increases in value recognition, though, CIOs still must plan to do more, faster, better, and with less. While CIOs expect to continue to have to do more 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, from ninth out of the top ten in 2017 to fifth. Increasingly, the market demands more, and 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 are placing this emphasis on agility and automation to cut costs and improve speeds while staying within difficult budgetary parameters.
3. 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 and using detailed, 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.
4. 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, but it also opens entirely new streams of revenue, as the IoT tracks user data, revealing fresh insights into customer behavior and needs to develop new opportunities. 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.
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 from the beginning of 2017, with many CIOs still struggling to match results with goals in these areas. Many CIO goals for 2018 resemble those of 2017, only with different priorities. 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.