CIO Priorities for 2017 – Managing the Tech and Talent Challenges

November 15, 2016
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The approach of a new year brings about thoughts for the future. For CIOs, it’s a time to consider the year ahead and create a priority list for both staffing needs and the platforms and tools that will be refined or implemented. The challenge lies in finding capable team members to lead the latest initiatives and to put in place new solutions that will improve internal efficiencies while driving positive customer experiences. 

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The approach of a new year brings about thoughts for the future. For CIOs, it’s a time to consider the year ahead and create a priority list for both staffing needs and the platforms and tools that will be refined or implemented. The challenge lies in finding capable team members to lead the latest initiatives and to put in place new solutions that will improve internal efficiencies while driving positive customer experiences. 

Consider these top priorities for CIOs for 2017: 

Creating Digital Ecosystems

For some context, let’s define a digital ecosystem as a variety of elements such as companies, tools, and actual people sharing information through digital platforms in order to reach certain goals. The point of this new type of connection is to encourage closer interactions between companies and partners, and even for unknown groups to establish connections. To achieve this, CIOs should push forward projects that allow interoperability, in terms of cloud, analytics, security, and other solutions that work better when data can flow freely. 

Proactively Managing the Skills Gap

CIOs that want to implement the latest data-driven tools and platforms will look to automation and the cloud to simplify and streamline, but they still need experts on staff. The trick for 2017 and beyond is how to manage the looming skills gap, especially as it pertains to finding staff members with the requisite data science and analytics talents. Data is now real time, through IoTadvances and a broader interconnectedness of systems and information. New skills are needed to manage all of this information and to understand how to derive actual insights. CIOs and their managers will need to hire the right staff members (without paying exorbitant salaries) and be smart about developing the skills of current staff to prepare them for the new tech challenges. 

Embracing Bimodal IT

The commonly accepted definition of bimodal IT is a model where delivery of IT services is separated into an area focused on stability, and one on agility. There are criticisms to the model, but it’s a way to manage those things that are relatively well understood and a different way to manage unknown or uncertain issues, where testing and experimentation are needed.  One caveat to the approach is that it can lead to IT not advancing updates or innovations to back-end systems, so CIOs need to be sure all systems are carefully reviewed for possible stagnation. 

According to analysts at Gartner, the adoption of bimodal IT is crucial to the digital ecosystem’s development, as the “agility” mode drives innovation through experimentation. 

Spending Wisely

Gartner’s reporting also found an increase in how willing CIOs are to allocating spending on efforts that will help digitize their business, with a mark of 18% of the budget, a number that will likely jump to 28% by 2018. Unsurprisingly, some of the top platforms are BI, analytics, various cloud services, and security. Many of these are tools that can bring efficiency to the workforce while also improving the all-important customer experience. CIOs should conduct cost/benefit analyses to gauge the short and long-term impacts of various new platforms in order to make transformative impacts.