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What is Driving Today’s CIO? A Look Back to Go Forward

Innovation Executive Forum | Posted on June 4, 2019 by Karen Bader

“A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” – Marcus Garvey

Innovation is a forward-looking game. But, as the quote above suggests, it’s always helpful to know where you came from, to root your path into the future.

So, as we kick off our 2019 series of the Innovation Executive Forum, let’s look at some of the biggest ideas that shaped our conversations in the past year. And let’s see where they might lead us tomorrow.

(Editor’s Note: These four highlights come from our latest IEF report “The North American CIO.” Download the full report, featuring advice and analysis from 14 senior IT leaders).


Embracing hygienic data:

Today’s CIO doesn’t want more data. They want to use data wisely to drive business value. As one IEF member in Washington, DC, noted:

“The problem we have is we have so much data, and we’re digging into it a lot. But we’re struggling with how to monetize that data. We’re still learning what the value of our data is.”

In 2019, IT will be getting methodical with big data. IEF members say clean, hygienic data processes will be essential – not just for unleashing value, but also for security.

Opening up to innovation:

Today’s CIO is putting strategies into action to unleash innovation and drive the business into new domains. For example, one IEF member in Halifax explained how smart contracts are changing the game for his industry:

“To lease an airplane, smart contracts would be phenomenal. If we could find an entry point for smart contracts using a blockchain algorithm, we could change the game in the business around aircraft leasing.”

In 2019, CIO’s must be embracing new, pioneering domains, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, to stay ahead of the curve.

North American CIO Report Download

Reducing friction in the workplace:

Today’s CIO knows a great employee experience is crucial to the success of a business. During our IEF event in San Francisco, this idea was made clear when discussing the importance of onboarding new employees to a sales department.

“They’re salespeople, they’re not here to use technology, they’re here to sell to customers. The white glove service ensures that’s what they’re able to do, starting on day one.”

IT’s job in 2019 is to make the employee experience as engaging and seamless as possible.

The move to user-friendly security:

IT is trying to re-brand itself as the enabler of the new – no longer happy with its reputation as the strict gatekeeper or “department of no.” But achieving this new position, while maintaining security, won’t be easy. As one IEF member in Montreal explained:

“We’re trying to implement security and a lot of people are doing things on their own. They think, ‘Oh I can’t wait on IT,’ and now we’re not stakeholders. We’re trying to pick up the pieces after.”

In 2019, IT has a few strategies to employ: Focus on the speed of your services; work with users to truly understand their needs; and educate them on how to work securely.

Get the full picture:

In 2018, the IEF met with hundreds of high-level innovation and IT executives across North America. We held 14 exclusive events, where dozens of local leaders, partners and customers were asked to come and share a meal – and their stories.

The stories above are just a sampling of what we discovered, together.

To get the full picture, download “The North American CIO”. Discover the four master trends that are driving the priorities of CIO’s across the USA and Canada.

Download the North American CIO Report from IEF

Ready to join the discussion? Request to become a member.

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