- Four in 10 CEOs say they expect their CIOs — or equivalent tech leader — to become a key driver of business strategy, more so than other top executives, such as COO, CFO, or CMO, combined, according to Deloitte's Tech Trends report. The company surveyed 500 technology and executive leaders in 22 industries.
- CIOs will become a closer advisor to business strategy in the new year, as shaping strategy itself becomes a more tech-enabled and data-driven task, the report said.
- A tech focus in company strategy will also press organizational and strategy leaders to become more involved with tech strategy decisions, according to Scott Buchholz, emerging technology research director and Government & Public Services CTO at Deloitte Consulting LLP, speaking on an online panel last week.
Unprecedented as it was, 2020 still accelerated business trends that were already playing out prior to the pandemic.
Companies knew CIOs needed a seat at the table helping to advance digital transformation, lest companies succumb to competitors with more robust tech capabilities. This year, businesses learned the essential value of CIOs when needing to sustain operations through the unforeseen.
When retailers needed to enable curbside pickup at lightning speed, CIOs primed tech teams to focus on the urgent task. CIOs guided companies undergoing unprecedented pivots to distributed work, and supported operations across the organization — from customer service to onboarding.
In shaping company strategy for the years ahead, CIOs gained a brighter perspective on how tech and business priorities align, serving an augmented role in shaping company strategy. As the process of strategizing itself becomes more data-driven, the CIO's purview also expands.
The creation of company strategy is "increasingly going from an exercise with pencils and pieces of paper," to one that relies on AI and other tech tools to provide insight, said Buchholz.
"Organizational strategy and technology strategy are becoming increasingly intertwined," Buchholz said. "If your technology isn't aligned with where you want to go as an organization, it's going to be really hard to get there."
Chief data officers and chief AI officers are atop the CEOs call list as organizations rely more on technology, according to Beena Ammanath, executive director of the Deloitte AI Institute, speaking on the panel.
"The prominence of those roles have definitely risen," said Ammanath. "The importance and urgency around it has certainly changed, and we will continue to see that trend going up for the next few months."
Amid the slew of predictions for the role CIOs will play in 2021, analysts depict a CIO who will be entrusted with more critical parts of the business and wrestles an expanded list of responsibilities while they serve employees and customers