The increased use of data to transform business models and enhance customer service will be the main trend in 2016, and this will give CIOs enough to think about and do as their roles are put to the test amid evolving IT sectors.
Traditionally, CIOs have focused mainly on technology and solutions in the business, how to align systems and adapt to conditions, applying the best approach to bolster operations and achieve the best possible results.
“This has changed and data-driven economies are behind this change,” says Raj Naidoo, director of Enermatics, a provider of smart metering technology and reseller of power to end users.
“Now CIOs have to keep abreast of the changing environment and help their businesses adapt accordingly to minimise any vulnerability or volatility.”
There are a number of forces that are behind this change, says Naidoo, including big data analytics, the Internet of Things, cloud service adoption and mobility.
CIOs will not only have to keep control over internal issues related to strategy and approach in terms of these technology forces, but also help and establish market positioning and direction.
“It is important to note that the CIO can help CEOs increase efficiency and reduce costs by improved alignment to the company’s goals and strategies,” Naidoo continues.
Technology will continue to be one of the primary routes to helping companies keep abreast of change and adapt accordingly.
Solutions and tools will be the chief area of expertise for the CIOs and they will be expected to know what technology to adopt, when to bring it in, how to integrate and how to maintain, says Naidoo.
“The CIO will need a broader understanding of the market and help position the company to provide innovative solutions for clients. CIOs will need to understand the type of product/ service offering and the type of company that they serve (product centric, customer centric or operations centric) before deciding on the right tech solutions,” he continues.
According to Naidoo CIOs will have to be on top of their game if they are to successfully leverage resources like the cloud. “Cloud offers businesses the opportunity to grow much more rapidly than was previously the case. From a South African point of view businesses will increasingly depend on mobile platforms to deliver services. More IT departments will shrink in favour of outsourced hosted solutions.”
The key challenge will be in understanding the market and helping position the company for the rapidly changing environment.