By:Toby Alcock, CTO, Logicalis Group
We are at a transformative time across the globe. Reliance on technology and connectivity for business continuity has changed the status quo.
According to PwC’s Global Digital Pulse survey, more than 50% of global consumers have become digital in the last year. These findings are corroborated in a similar Gartner report, which reveals that 80% of all B2B sales interactions now take place online.
The pandemic altered business priorities with digital transformation, security, business continuity and resilience, all falling to CIOs. According to the findings of the 2021 Logicalis Global CIO Survey, seventy-nine percent of CIOs are spending more time on innovation than pre-pandemic and 77% are investing more of their day in strategic planning.
This shift towards strategic planning and innovation for CIOs is helping businesses create modern technologies that can meet wider business objectives. The main objective overwhelmingly being to improve customer engagement.
Centring operations around customer experience
CIOs must innovate and prioritise the digital customer experience by leveraging technical ability to interpret data and unearth hidden insights. Improving customer experience is certainly one of the top challenges to overcome for CIOs post-pandemic. Our findings in the Logicalis Global CIO Study support this, with 73% of CIOs stating that the importance of customer experience has increased and this isn’t slowing down any time soon.
Additionally, the report reveals over 81% of respondents believe their focus on redefining the customer experience will grow over the next 5 years. This provides an opportunity for CIOs to revolutionise business infrastructure to tackle the encroaching modern world and increasingly digital-based interactions. Businesses that don’t update their approach to innovation and digitalisation will not be able to respond to evolving customer demands and lose out to those that can keep up.
Necessity for scale and agility
To transform business operations and move to digital, scale and agility are crucial. In fact, according to McKinsey, agility and scalability are key differentiators for businesses navigating the ongoing crisis. The study also outlines how building on agile practices creates long-term operational resilience.
CIOs are aware of the need for agility to drive business acceleration with 85% of our survey respondents planning to find new ways to increase agility in the next five years. However, just 48% of CIOs are using data to raise agility in their operations. The businesses that leverage data will gain a competitive advantage and equip their leaders with insight to drive informed decisions and create unparalleled business agility and overcome any current, or future obstacles with the pandemic.
To achieve unparalleled flexibility and agility, the cloud is fast becoming the dominant IT model as it delivers choice and efficiency to match changing business needs and supports rapid growth. But often, organisations assume this move will be faultless – which sometimes isn’t the case. The journey of achieving an optimised digital infrastructure model is complex. Working with an expert partner can help businesses build a solution that guarantees a secure, agile, adaptable, and resilient model mapped to their unique business needs and objectives.
Changing role of the CIO
Building customer-centric infrastructure will involve a new set of skills for some CIOs. They must become more involved with customers regularly. CIOs should try to understand how conditions are changing from a customer’s perspective and what this means for the customer journey. They must crystalise this understanding and infuse it into new digital strategies that support these needs.
Businesses need to be customer-obsessed, offering excellent digital experiences that connect with customer need. The best way to do this is to leverage emerging technologies to better understand the customer journey, mapping and monitoring it to draw out actionable insights. CIOs should leverage external experts to help understand how to drive more efficient customer engagements. A third of survey respondents already see pandemic-driven changes in customer requirements as drivers for sourcing outside help.
Ultimately, the role and priorities of the CIO have changed drastically due to the pandemic, and urgent action is needed to deliver value for customers, keep ahead of competition, prepare workforces for the digital workplace and ensure business continuity and resilience in the post-pandemic economy.
For more information and insights from the 2021 Logicalis CIO Survey, visit here.