The slew of business disruptions throughout 2020 changed the purview and influence of the CIO.
More than two-thirds (67%) of CIOs believe they will become more influential in the process of corporate or IT innovation and 63% believe they will be more influential with workers, according to a Constellation Research survey of 100 leading CIOs.
The influence CIOs have is expected to grow. Beyond the pandemic, business is in a constant state of disruption, according to Erica Volini, global human capital leader at Deloitte, during the State of Digital Adoption 2021 on Thursday.
"We need to change and become more digital almost instantly," Volini said. The burden of digital adoption and implementation falls on IT leaders and their teams — meaning they also take the flack when tools don't meet intended goals.
Digital tools provide value, but there's a gap between what businesses can achieve and the potential of certain tools, according to Dion Hinchcliffe, VP and principal analyst at Constellation Research.
"Modern IT solutions have very high leverage and can provide lots of value, if we're using ... some of their more advanced features, which we typically don't train our workers on first," Hinchcliffe said.
Not enough CIOs are taking advantage of the benefits currently available, instead implementing entirely new tools to solve the problems.
"Much in today's digital workplace is seen as optional," Hinchcliffe said. "The real challenge to getting a lot of value out of these much more powerful, newer tools is getting people to use them effectively, to adopt them."
Forty-two percent of CIOs are looking for entirely new IT solutions to better address the current problems, while only about one-third are training and educating workers to make better use of existing IT, according to the Constellation Research report.
Lacking digital adoption results in users getting frustrated using old technology, companies not being able to realize full value without full adoption, and there's a risk of getting negative scores from users, according to Filippo Catalano, former CIO at Nestle and current chief information and digitization officer at RB.
"It's much easier to extract value [by] increasing adoption of capabilities you already have versus continuous launching of new capabilities," Catalano said.
Catalano recommends metrics for evaluating whether digital adoption is a key measure of success. "If you do it, you will better understand if your investments are driving value and how you're progressing along your journey," Catalano said.
In the next 12 months, Catalano predicts more executive teams will be monitoring digital adoption as a driver of success and more organizations will assign dedicated teams to oversee digital adoption.
But digital adoption isn't just about the new systems businesses need for continuity.
Instead, a mindset shift is necessary to navigate and respond to the change, according to Volini. The cultural shift requires participation across business units to ensure leaders are merging technology and human capabilities in the right way.
"All these new technologies are going to continue to get implemented, you need this steady stream of digital adoption to make sure that you're driving that change … on an ongoing and a continual basis," Volini said.