The Unshackled, Unwired CIO

May 24, 2017

The drab, plebian-sounding IT department of yesteryears stands mutated into a swanky CIO’s office. In just about a decade, an explosive burst of information and communication technologies has aggressively rewired the infrastructure and connectivity of businesses through the wireless. The CIO has earned the rights to feel like a Superman.

The real trick, however, is that the CIO needs to deliver like Superman too. And that’s where the slips begin showing in most organizations, where the legacy eco-systems clash with the new digital, device-independent systems. The CIO’s first job begins here, and it’s dirty. De-weeding; clearing off the deadwood, realigning business processes to the new information infrastructure, and yet, which stays aligned to a dynamic business strategy – the mandate for the Superman CIO doesn’t make Clark Kent too happy.

The 21st century CIO must have forgotten how to sit. Technologies are changing around her faster than fast, and she has jobs to do to retain the highest degree of convenience, economy and seamless integration into every departmental function at all times. Business processes and departments have become dependent on the CIO to become the torch-bearer of the digital transformation in an organization, spurred on by the inclusion of ownership in the entire technology integration process. The dearth of capable and certified technical staff, however, has played the biggest spoiler in her sprint.

CredRadar analyses of all major global studies on tech-trends in the last two years are revealing. More than 70% of CIOs feel extremely pressured by the need to harness technology for keeping organizations nimble, flexible, agile and highly responsive to market dynamics. Almost an overwhelming 85% of CIOs, however, feel more irritated and concerned about dearth of the capable, trained and certified staffers and tech-talents who can implement their visions. CIOs today are verily the strategic, forward-looking business leaders in their own right - a far cry from the IT infrastructure and security maintenance professionals of yesteryears. In fact, many of them are leading the digital transformation in their organizations, with a massive 83% willing to go the extra mile to invest in new and disruptive technologies to make their organizations more efficient and effective.

Security remains the biggest concern, as it has been with every organization over the years. 3 out of every 4 CIOs surveyed cited the lack of employee awareness as the single biggest block in the transformation process – while 68% of the CIOs were highly concerned over the obsolescence of present technologies and processes that could become legacy systems tomorrow. Adoption of new technologies is key here, and employees are required to pull up their socks and embrace the transformation phenomenon.

CIOs across the world see technology certifications, such as those in Data Analytics, Information Security and Cloud Computing leading the way. 74% of the 400 CIOs surveyed in the report cite skill gaps as the major hurdle in their digital transformation initiatives, with technology certification programs for the employees being the most potent remedy to address this impending threat, the primary reason that high-scale hiring of certified personnel is only rising in double digits, YoY.

Emerging technologies, on the sidelines today, are also expected to go mainstream in the coming years. CIOs worldwide are carefully watching technologies such as IoT (manufacturing and logistics), Robotics (manufacturing), Blockchain (Finance), Artificial Intelligence (almost every function) and Virtual Reality (stakeholder experience- customers, employees) as key trends they would like to adopt, hindered only by the lack of employee participation and the overall lack of proficiency in new disruptive technologies.

Evident from this trend is that more CIOs are turning to certifications to enhance employee skills in digital. They are increasingly encouraging, and sometimes even sponsoring, technology skills certifications in their staff, even as they become close collaborators with business ownership to achieve the strategic vision of the organization.

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