Dear CIO: Are You Tackling the Top 10 Strategic Issues for 2013?

Source: Bob Evans, Oracle

Business-technology teams today face a daunting set of inside/outside challenges: just as CEOs are demanding more business value from IT, customers are demanding more-intelligent engagements and flexible experiences from the businesses they buy from.

In that context, CIOs need to find a way to not just manage both simultaneously, but to conceive and execute bold new approaches for both simultaneously.

As a result, strategic CIOs are radically reworking everything from enterprise architecture to social-media policies and from cloud-computing deployments to customer-experience projects in an effort to simplify IT and thereby fund innovation, growth, and latency-free processes.

In my debut column in this space 10 months ago, I offered a list of The Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2013 that touched on the following business-technology challenges and opportunities that are still facing businesses today:

1) Transforming IT spending habits by leveraging cloud computing to unlock and liberate huge chunks of IT budgets.

2) Embracing social business in a wide range of ways to enhance internal collaboration and external engagements.

3) Exploiting Big Data and analytics to unlock new growth opportunities.

4) Creating customer-centric systems and culture across the organization.

5) Future-proofing your IT architecture to meet the profoundly more-demanding requirements of businesses in a world increasingly driven by mobile, social, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.

6) Cloud computing as business-transformation agent: rapidly shifting the cloud discussion from one that’s centered on technology to one focused on strategic business outcomes.

7) Big Data goes strategic: Big Insights, Big Opportunities, and Big Growth become the new themes.

8) Move at the speed of your customers: finding elegant and scalable ways to marry systems of record (ERP) with systems of engagement (Social).

9) CIO as Chief Acceleration Officer: CIOs need to help CEOs accelerate everything from product development to analytics to financial closings to responding to customer inquiries. Latency is the enemy!

10) More Innovation, Less Integration: old IT approaches simply can’t scale with today’s demands, so CIOs must find powerful new approaches to meet the new customer-driven requirements of today and tomorrow.

Now, I realize that’s quite a wide-ranging list and that the completion of even half of those suggestions would be monumental achievement. The problem, though, is that the outside world is growing increasingly demanding, increasingly mobile, increasingly intelligent, and increasingly impatient.

And because the future is arriving more quickly than ever before, and therefore the only viable alternative for CIOs is to ensure that their companies can move as fast as this crazy world we live in today!

That’s why I think the list we published 10 months ago of The Top 10 Strategic CIO Issues For 2013 still holds up very well today at the mid-point of the year. And while I don’t mean to suggest that this list will be a perfect fit for every company, I do believe that based on conversations about this list with lots of customers, it provides a thought-provoking way for CIOs to engage with their CEOs and other business leaders on today’s most-pressing business challenges.

I hope these 10 discussion points, and the overall analysis, provide some fresh thinking for you and your company, and I welcome your feedback via Twitter to @bobevansIT.  (The following content was originally published as a standalone column on Forbes.com in September 2012.)

Perhaps no C-level position has undergone as many changes in expectations, approaches, and philosophies during the past few decades as that of the Chief Information Officer.

And the turbulent forces shaping businesses in today’s always-on global marketplace promise to accelerate that ongoing evolution. In that context, I’ve put together a list of what I believe will be the top priorities for strategic CIOs in the coming year.

As you’ll see, each of these 10 is rooted in change, and calls for the CIO to be a leader instead of a follower; a disrupter instead of a go-alonger; and a business-driven executive instead of a tech-focused manager.

Several themes reverberate throughout: analytics, breaking down silos, social, the cloud, and particularly customers, opportunities, growth, and innovation. I hope these prove helpful, and please share your feedback in the comments section below or on Twitter at @bobevansIT.

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(contributor_data.name)!?htmlBob Evans Oracle​Voice

Bob Evans is senior vice-president, communications, for Oracle Corp., and reports to CEO Larry Ellison. He’s responsible for helping articulate Oracle’s strategic directions, high-level technology innovations, unique competitive advantages, and the wide range of business value Oracle creates for its customers and partners. Before joining Oracle, he was a long-time tech-industry analyst and commentator as well as content and media executive. You can follow him on Twitter at @bobevansIT.

 

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