Cio goals

A Guide for the CIO: Goals that Will Drive Digital Growth

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For today’s CIO, goals should revolve around enabling digital transformation and driving business growth.

Modern businesses, after all, are faced with a digital landscape that is rapidly evolving and CIOs are often tasked with leading digital transformation programs. 


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See below for a few strategies and tactics CIOs can use to lead digital initiatives, fuel business growth, modernize IT, and build a more digitally resilient organization. 

A Guide for the CIO: Goals to Drive Digital Growth

CIOs must expand their role to embrace business strategy, digital transformation, and other areas of IT beyond ITSM.

1. Business Strategy

As businesses grow ever more digital, the role of the CIO becomes progressively more crucial to business strategy. 

It’s not enough for a CIO to be a technology expert, therefore – they must also be able to:

  • Understand technology from a business perspective
  • Develop and lead technology-driven business initiatives
  • Act as business leaders as well as IT leaders

The operational CIO, in short, is evolving into the transformational CIO.

Their role is to take the helm alongside other C-suite executives and lead business transformation efforts.

2. Digital Transformation

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the CIO’s role in driving digital transformation.

Gartner, IDG, and others, for instance, have all suggested that:

  • CIOs will take a leading role in organizational culture change efforts
  • CIOs should participate in the design and execution of digital transformation programs
  • The role of the CIO is expanding beyond IT operations to include other IT tasks, such as product development and digital transformation
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Since the rate of digital transformation will only accelerate in the years ahead, CIOs must be ready and willing to step up and take on the role of a digital leader.

3. Data Management

Depending on the size of the organization, CIOs may also become responsible for managing the way their company uses data.

This not only refers to the operational aspects – such as database architecture and infrastructure – but also how it leverages data strategically.

While large enterprises may delegate this responsibility to specialists, some companies may require the CIO to perform tasks such as:

  • Hiring data teams
  • Using data in areas such as innovation, automation, customer experience improvements, and product development
  • Developing a data strategy designed to enhance business performance 
  • Advise other departments on the benefits and best practices of data management

In the years ahead, data-driven processes will increasingly crucial to an organization’s success. If a company lacks a data strategy, therefore, CIOs should be ready to implement one.

4. Security and Risk Management

In the modern digital world, security has become a necessity for nearly every business. When businesses are unable to ensure the security of their data, their customers and business operations are at risk. 

A single cyber attack could have devastating consequences, damaging a company’s finances, its reputation, and even its ability to stay operational.

Cyber threats are constantly changing and evolving, so it is crucial for CIOs and CISOs to maintain a proactive approach to security.

Among other things, risk management strategies should include:

  • Comprehensive cybersecurity measures that protect IT assets and systems
  • Disaster recovery plans
  • Business continuity plans
  • Emergency response plans
  • An IT resiliency strategy
  • Training in security protocols for employees

Plans such as these are even more important today, when remote work has become commonplace. 

When employees use cloud-based software, after all, new vulnerabilities are introduced. In 2020, for instance, reports of cyber crime increased between 300-400%.

5. Updating IT Service Management Practices

There are a few trends dominating ITSM in 2021:

  • Reallocating IT support to fixing IT service issues, rather than technical support
  • Implementing new technology, such as AI, for security
  • Adopting centralized ITSM platforms, such as enterprise service management (ESM) tools
  • Automation and hyperautomation

Though CIOs’ responsibilities are expanding beyond ITSM, as mentioned, IT service management is still an important part of their purview. 

Yet as the IT infrastructure evolves, so too should ITSM practices. 

CIOs should not simply focus on managing legacy systems, in other words, they should also focus on adopting new ITSM practices, platforms, and strategies.

6. Shifting to Product-Based IT

Many research firms and experts have touted the benefits of product-based IT over project-based IT. 

Proponents suggest that product-based workflows are both more appropriate and cost-effective than project-based IT.

According to those who advocate making the shift, project-based IT:

  • Ties budgets directly to a project
  • Assigns teams that often work on several projects at once
  • Have clearly defined start and end dates

Product-based IT, on the other hand, reorients teams and budgets around individual products. 

This approach:

  • Connects budgets to outputs 
  • Measures success as a function of performance
  • Assigns cross-functional teams to individual products

In short, product-based IT models tend to focus on individual products and performance, rather than on milestones, goals, and other metrics common in project management.

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