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Six CIO strategies that can curate the future of business

The success of CIOs in shaping and scaling businesses hinges on crafting effective strategies, communicating adeptly, and facilitating change management processes.

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DQINDIA Online
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CIO

Envision a scenario where every employee in the organisation benefits from having a deputy, adept at organizing their day, prioritizing tasks, and managing essential, yet process-related work. An extremely pro-employee and productivity-driven prospect, isn't it?

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With each employee then equipped to fully dedicate towards problem-solving, innovation, growth, and pursuing the next big opportunity, organisations could witness accelerated progress across all facets of work. Technology, particularly AI, has the potential to make this vision a reality.

A tech-powered business, developed and immaculately curated by a technology leader has the potential to outperform peers who do not leverage the tech advantage. Technologists are the true architects of the future of businesses. With the right foresight, they can reimagine every aspect, from business model and value creation to the future of work, and employee experiences. Our global research suggests that 36% of organisations are monetizing their data or technology already, and another 16% expected to follow suit within the next two years.

Technologists today have the potential to become the future business leaders, helping enterprises hack into growth, productivity, experiences, and innovation. According to a recent analysis by Deloitte, employing the correct blend of digital transformation initiatives has the potential to unleash up to $1.25 trillion in added market capitalization across all Fortune 500 companies. Technology leaders have a pivotal role to play here in channelizing the right efforts in the right direction.

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First, developing an appropriate foresight is key. A technologist needs to anticipate the future directions of both business and technology over the next 3, 5, or 10 years. Having the right knowledge of technological breakthroughs and how they could disrupt markets, can empower a technology leader to help businesses stay ahead and navigate into the next phase of growth. Towards that view, it is equally important to possess an anthropologist's insight into how the fabric of cultural dynamics, social interactions, and expectations might evolve alongside technological advancements. Technology leaders must prioritize external collaboration (with experts, innovators, academia, regulators etc.) to incorporate cutting-edge perspectives into business initiatives.

Second, translating this foresight and knowledge into action requires the ability to communicate and influence strategic decision making. The role of a CIO or a CTO is also a people’s role. The significance of building relationships, empathizing with stakeholders, driving consensus, and be seen as a trusted advisor in a room full of decision makers cannot be discounted, which brings into context the essentials of developing executive presence. For instance, a recent global analysis by Deloitte reveals a nuanced disparity in the perceptions of Gen AI benefits between business and technology leaders. While the perception gap is minimum for benefits such as ‘cost reduction’ and ‘efficiency enhancement’, there exists a divergence regarding its application potential in areas such as 'fraud detection' and 'software development ease/speed', with most business leaders not having the visibility into these applications. This underscores the importance for technology leaders to effectively communicate and assist organizations in realizing the full potential of any technology.

Third, having a multi-faceted team of strategists, tech architects and engineers, cybersecurity specialists, data architects, storytellers, and digital anthropologists, can help develop a more varied, innovative, yet pragmatic approach to technology. A diverse and inclusive environment can facilitate the right usage of technology, that powers better experiences, reduces biases, and creates a business that caters to all.

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Fourth, it's crucial to maintain focus on human experiences, ethics, and responsible technology (an aspect that a diverse team can address better). When rebuilding businesses on data, automation, and AI, both employee and customer experiences must be regarded. In a recent Deloitte global workforce experience roundtable, leaders highlighted the need to consider employee experience and impact when it comes to AI implementation. 41% of the leaders felt that AI could reduce the quality of human connections within an organisation. Leaders also raised concerns for biases, inclusion challenges, data security and privacy issues. To harness technology effectively, it's crucial to acknowledge and address the inherent challenges and downsides that arise. Moreover, maintaining trust and partnerships with both employees and customers throughout the journey, makes technology more meaningful.4

Fifth, building a cyber-resilient organisation is not a matter of choice but a business need. Moving from monolithic, legacy-based systems to digital, decentralized, and agile environments takes time, creating many blind spots and back doors for bad threat actors to capitalize on. Organizations undertaking modernization initiatives, and there-after, must prioritize a cyber-first approach, based on human-centric and technology-powered strategy. This involves elevating cyber consciousness of every employee through appropriate culture-building efforts, and leveraging technology such as automation, AI, and analytics to simplify cybersecurity processes.

Last, but not the least, always circling back to productivity, and growth. While technology helps reimagine and innovate, it should always help improve from status quo and help simplify. A cadence check to not fall into analysis paralysis or non-yielding efforts is important to stay on track. Tech leaders must also identify the right KPIs and metrics to track the effectiveness of technology initiatives (be it Cloud, AI, metaverse, or cybersecurity), and identifying areas of improvement. It's crucial that these KPIs are collectively agreed upon and communicated with both management and the board to efficiently manage expectations and address bottlenecks.

Today, CIOs are at a critical juncture, where they have the opportunity to shape and scale businesses, and the key to success and gaining a competitive edge lies in crafting the right strategy, adeptly communicating to influence stakeholders, and effectively facilitating change management processes.

-By Deepa Seshadri, Partner & CIO program Leader, Deloitte India and Manishree Bhattacharya, Associate Director, Deloitte India

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