Cio issues

The 6 Biggest CIO Issues and How to Overcome Them

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Today, CIOs are facing significant challenges that stem from digital transformation, shifting customer behavior, COVID-19, and more. In this post, we’ll examine how to overcome the biggest CIO issues, from risk management to employee resistance.

The Biggest CIO Issues and How to Overcome Them

Here are several of the most pressing issues IT leaders are likely to face in the next year or two, which you need to overcome if you want to stay relevant and competitive in the modern workplace.


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1. Resistance to change

As an IT leader, it’s the CIO’s job to ensure that their business is on the cutting-edge of technology. 

Unfortunately, however, most people are uncomfortable with change – and the larger the change, the less comfortable people are with it.

There are several common reasons why people resist change.

For instance:

  • When it comes to new technology, such as automation, people often fear job displacement
  • New tools require new skills, and oftentimes people don’t want to learn new things
  • If managers fail to communicate the reason for a change effectively, employees can grow distrustful

Resisting change should not necessarily be viewed as an act of rebellion. In many instances, it is simply due to issues such as poor communication or a lack of training.

Communicating the reasons for a change project, offering ample training, and explaining how employees will benefit from change can all help transform resistance into support.

2. Obtaining buy-in for IT investments

Executive support is crucial for the success of any business initiative, including digital initiatives.

Obtaining that buy-in, however, can be an issue for CIOs, particularly since other executives don’t always understand the value of new technology.

It is up to CIOs to overcome this problem by:

  • Educating other executives on the value of digital technology
  • Making a business case for the financial potential of IT
  • Developing and communicating detailed plans when making a proposal
  • Committing to lead digital transformation efforts

Establishing working partnerships with other executives is one of the best ways to obtain buy-in.

Learning to speak their language and speaking to their needs can help CIOs build a fruitful, collaborative relationship – which will, in turn, increase the likelihood of earning their support.

3. Managing risk

The more that IT leaders invest in digital projects, the more they must assess and mitigate risk.

CIOs should therefore work closely with risk management professionals to design plans focused on:

All of these plans should tie into the organizational resilience strategy, a comprehensive approach for mitigating business risks and reducing the impact of disruptions. 

4. Adapting to the changing marketplace

Technology is rapidly transforming the shape of the marketplace.

Thanks to the digital revolution, for instance, we have seen trends such as:

  • Online shopping
  • Mobile communications and multichannel marketing
  • Digital products and services
  • New industries and jobs

In short, the entire business landscape has changed for both consumers and businesses.

In the years ahead, disruptive innovation will continue to reshape both the B2B and B2C marketplaces, so IT leaders must be prepared to adapt.

This means, among other things, that CIOs should be ready to develop new customer-facing products and services, adapt to changes in customer sentiment, and support other executives’ IT strategies when necessary.

5. Becoming digital leaders, not just IT managers

IT leadership is different today than it was only a few years ago.

More and more, CIOs are being held accountable for:

  • Designing and implementing digital initiatives
  • Managing cross-functional teams
  • Spearheading innovation

In other words, CIOs must become strategists as well as operational managers.

There are several implications of this for the modern CIO.

CIOs must, for instance:

  • Learn leadership and management skills
  • Understand business and strategy
  • Be able to identify growth opportunities in the marketplace

The most successful CIOs will be those who are comfortable in both the world of business and technology.

Investing in leadership and development, therefore, should become a top priority for the modern CIO.

6. Building a digital workplace

The modern workplace has become digital and it will only become more digital-centric in the years to come.

CIOs, naturally, will be instrumental in transforming the workplace and ensuring that employees stay productive.

It is important to recognize, however, that the digital workplace should consist of several components, including:

  • Digital tools and software
  • A digitally savvy workforce
  • Digital workflows
  • Mindsets and a corporate culture that are technology-driven

A successful workplace, in other words, relies both on people and tools.

Without the right skills and mindset, after all, it won’t matter what software a company has – it will never be fully utilized.

To minimize issues that arise from transforming the workplace, CIOs should work closely with HR, training managers, and department leaders to design a digital adoption strategy that can be implemented across the business.

With the right onboarding and training strategy, it will be much easier to build a workplace that is future-proofed and digital-first.

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