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Updated by Charles Bystock on 05/11/2020

Digital transformation has changed more than our processes and products; it’s changed the job descriptions of everyone from front line personnel to the c-suite. Enterprise chief executive officers (CEOs), for example, have evolved beyond managing to the bottom line to incorporate strategies for market changes, technology initiatives, staffing, and regulatory encroachment. How will the latest emerging business and economic trends shape CEO priorities for 2020?

The CEOs three-fold imperative for emerging IT strategies

Technology has evolved beyond a tool to do a job into a strategy for market capture and retention. As a result, today’s CEO and chief information officer (CIO) roles are intertwined in this new era of digital disruption. The technology adoption imperative impacts the fiscal lifeblood of an organization; no longer just an operating cost, IT brings value to the bottom line.

CEOs have always faced the challenge of conflicting priorities, but technology’s transformative changes have grabbed and held a large percentage of their attention in the past several years — and this year is no different.

CEOs will have a profound impact on IT in 2020, particularly in the area of strategy development. The c-suite obviously lacks a crystal ball to predict how their strategies will impact the real-time bottom line; however, their focus this year will likely rest in three key business imperatives:

Collaborating with strategy and operations teams to speed digital transformation.

This effort will further erase the lines between IT and the CEO’s office. Creating new job descriptions, workflows, and reporting structures will bring technology professionals into the corner office and meld business teams with IT.

Accelerating innovation for talent acquisition.

Finding the IT needle in your corporate recruiting haystack has reached the attention of the CEO. This is due, in part, to current IT functions that are more about innovation over simply keeping the lights on. Without the right talent, mission-critical IT initiatives simply won’t move forward or scale as quickly as the market demands. But finding IT talent takes resources, including sophisticated IT tools and an Agile mindset for product delivery.

Creating flexible, scalable processes to speed IT releases.

Moving beyond legacy, on-premise applications is imperative for CIOs and CEOs. Cloud adoption will continue to accelerate, particularly as enterprise organizations seek the time efficiencies of faster application deployment. CEOs should look at vendor partnerships with a critical eye this year, focusing on those that add value and allow IT teams to focus on strategy and innovation.

This year, the dotted line between the CEO and CIO will solidify as business leadership comes together to digitally transform. However, a major hurdle remains between IT strategy and implementation: budget.

 

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Cost reductions during transformative times

Despite the imperatives surrounding digital transformation, CEOs will be tasked with doing more with less. It’s inevitable during this time of IT innovation that c-suite technology wish lists will exceed budget constraints. The CEO will need to measure return on investment (ROI) from existing technologies, while carefully weighing the cost of further upgrades.

That said, uncertainties surrounding a global pandemic could cause even the most innovative CEO to take greater budgetary cautions. Within this uncertainty lies the reality that technology, finance, and human resources should have a direct point of accountability to the enterprise CEO. This “buck stops here” approach is growing in popularity; Deloitte found 51% of CIOs now report to the CEO. The significance of restructuring reporting structures will help ensure the mission-critical focus on technology as a value driver even during times of market uncertainty and cost reductions.

Best questions CEOs can ask their IT teams

CEOs can future-proof the enterprise by driving technology transformation. McKinsey suggests the following ten crucial questions that CEOs should ask their IT teams :

  1. How are key technology decisions being made?
  2. How do we track technology value?
  3. How do we seek input from our technology users?
  4. Where do our IT teams contribute corporate value?
  5. What IT projects have been disbanded for lack of value?
  6. What is our time-to-deploy for new applications?
  7. What do our IT vendors provide?
  8. How much custom development do we apply to new IT initiatives?
  9. How are we using artificial intelligence or blockchain?
  10. What are the weaknesses within our IT security infrastructure?

Aligning IT within the business is a strong priority for CEOs this year. But what resources are available to mentor CEOs as we face the challenges that lie ahead? The Windsor Group Sourcing Advisory serves the enterprise c-suite in fast-changing global competitive environments. Talk with our team today.