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CIO strategiesFor the last few years, as businesses have weathered the global recession and its slow recovery, there’s been no question about the priorities and strategies CIOs had to focus on. It was a time of focusing on survival – of keeping up with the stress and strain of meeting customer and user expectations and needs while sticking to a tight budget for IT staffing, equipment, and tools.

This year, at last, we’re seeing a change in attitude among our global clients. Now, they’re refocusing on innovation. What kind of innovation?  It depends on the organizational needs they face, but in general, CIO priorities and strategies for 2013 are focusing on:

  • Optimizing customer experiences
  • Exploiting analytics
  • Transforming big data into big opportunities
  • Liberating budgets from legacy infrastructure
  • Developing (building, buying or customizing) advanced mobile solutions

InformationWeek editor Chris Murphy wrote that the major priority for CIOs in 2013 is to “Make IT measurably more relevant to your customers.”  That makes sense. Technology is more important than ever in building close ties to the customer. And, as customers rely more and more on mobile technology to access information about the products and services they buy, this means a renewed focus by enterprise IT on mobile strategy.

Of course, when Murphy wrote his column, he was focusing on end customers – the people or companies who buy products or services. But IT has internal customers, too. Those internal customers are better known as employees – and no CIO can afford to forget about their needs, wants, and priorities.

In fact, a CIO who forgets to pay attention to internal customers is likely to find that if IT doesn’t provide access to the data and tools that employees want, when they want it, from any device, they’re likely to be met with a quiet but definite revolt in the form of rampant violation of company policies. Security experts have long known that if people can’t get the data they need when they need it by following company policy, they’ll find a way to get it anyway.

That’s the reason that companies gave up on any attempt to ban BYOD access to the company network. When people couldn’t “legally” use their iPads, smart phones, or laptops, they created a work-around, and wrecked havoc on network security and data integrity.

About the same time that Murphy was looking at CIO strategies for 2013, IDG Enterprise CEO Michael Friedenberg was publishing his own list of the Top 10 Priorities for CIOs. The creative Mr. Friedenberg put his list together in the context of famous quotations; the whole list is worth reading, but two of them stuck out as especially relevant.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Friedenberger writes that Leonardo da Vinci’s saying reminds us that the era of IT complexity must end and asks, “What legacy systems will you retire this year?”

Resistance to change is often just a lack of clarity.” Business author Dan Heath nailed it, asking, “Where can you clarify the mission for your IT troops?” Clearly communicating your IT mission can be a significant advantage in IT staffing, whether you want to retain your current top talent or find new key hires.

At InfoVision, we’ve actively working with many clients who are simplifying IT and transforming their spending patterns. For many, it starts by “future-proofing” their IT architecture, and redefining their strategy from something vague like “Mobile Strategy” to something very specific like “Transforming Customer Service with Advanced Mobile Solutions.”

We approach a project like this by helping our clients see how deeply technology is embedded in every part of business operations, and the ways in which companies can find new revenue in new technology solutions. The world class IT organizations we serve demonstrate time and time again that their competitive edge derives from their ability to deliver more compelling value to internal and external customers, and we’re proud to be a part of that process.

What’s your top IT priority for 2013?


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