The CIO’s transformation to be a cross-functional business leader

The CIO’s transformation to be a cross-functional business leader

The role of a CIO has become more important as he must deliver digitally native capabilities while containing costs.

The year 2020 has been the most challenging one for businesses around the globe. Organisations across sectors have been impacted in one way or the other by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

In the aftermath of the pandemic outbreak, organisations allowed its employees to work remotely from the confines of their homes thus disrupting the IT operations in almost nearly every industry. CIOs and IT heads are working overtime to cope with these disruptions.

Despite the lockdown being lifted in most places, a number of companies have asked their employees to continue to work from home till a vaccine is found. Thus, increased collaboration with the human resource while ensuring their mental health and wellbeing so that they remain motivated has been one of the top priorities for a CIO.

Today, technology has become more important than ever, so is the role of a technology leader. CIOs must quickly deliver digitally native capabilities while containing costs.

With the focus of IT budgeting shifting over the last couple of months, IT heads are spending a lot of money to increase functionalities across collaborative platforms, accelerating the digital transformation, upgrading, and securing infrastructures, and Contingency planning.

While most enterprises with robust IT infrastructure were able to deal with the crisis, many had to rework their digital strategies by revisiting their IT budgets. To enable digital transformation towards business continuity, technology leaders are tasked with planning new investments in the areas of employee collaboration, security, customer engagement, cloud computing etc.

For organisations such as retail, banking, fintech, healthcare, automotive, which deals with consumers daily, the challenge was to scale faster to remotely engage with their customers. This is where the skill-set of a CIO has been put to test.

For many CIOs gearing up for the post-COVID business has been an arduous task. While they are still in a planning stage, technology leaders in some of the big companies have already implemented or are in the process of implementing AI, ML, VR, and AR.

CIOs vouch for these new-age technologies which help in re-engineering processes, strategies, and enhancing the overall customer experience. With customers increasingly seeking instant and seamless services, IT heads are taking big leaps in digital transformation using modern technology to overcome technological challenges.

In addition to providing the required hardware technology tools, CIOs have been proactive in executing internal and external training and re-skilling/upskilling their workforce. The onus is on them to ensure new strategies generate value for a business, and the money spent must showcase the value delivered.

Thus, the role of a CIO is getting redefined from technology leader to cross-functional business leader as he has to accelerate the digital transformation, ensure real-time tech resources for employees working from home, upgrade security infrastructures, channelise effective communication engines across business units, and balance their projects with shrinking IT budgets while meeting the swelling demands.