How CIOs can make 2018 their most successful year yet

The future of work continues to be a hot topic in 2018, with many predictions emerging around how workers of the future will behave

When it comes to choosing the IT solutions and applications that these workers will be using to access documents, communicate with colleagues and drive the business forward, the CIO has a big role to play. These choices will undoubtedly have an impact on the wider business. So, what qualities do these IT leaders need to have and how will moving to the cloud help CIOs have their most successful year yet?

What makes a game-changing CIO?

In order to determine what CIOs should be doing to help their businesses progress this year and beyond, we first need to establish the characteristics a successful CIO should have to achieve this. While most people would assume that IT should remain their primary focus, a successful CIO should also have their eye on the wider business goals and how IT can help to achieve these. IT teams should have the ability, tools and desire to drive business outcomes and get everyone in the company on-side and comfortable with the ways that technology can help achieve these goals.

Alongside this, IT leaders need to have good people skills and the ability to apply different leadership styles to match their colleagues’ needs. Instead of focusing on the technology or solutions, they need to think of the people using those solutions and how they will improve their working life or even their general wellbeing. According to our survey of 1,000 UK workers, only 36.5% currently work from home for some of the time, despite 90% saying they could work effectively from any location outside of the office if they had the right technology. To overcome this, IT leaders need to ensure their colleagues have equipment which meets their needs and allows them to work flexibly from any location they choose.

Lastly, a CIO needs to create and champion an internal culture that is ready for anything. IT moves quickly and so leaders in this space need to keep on top of trends. CIOs should be looking not only to the coming months, but to the long-term future. Over the next few years, workers from a generation which has never known a life without mobile phones and apps will join the workforce. These workers are used to instant messaging and speedy internet connections. As a result, their expectations of technology at work will be consumer-level. Alongside this diversifying of teams, advances in technology such as machine learning, augmented reality and AI, will mean workers, workspaces and jobs themselves will become more digital. IT teams will need to be prepared for this by embracing the changes to come and encouraging others to do the same.


The power of persuasion

It’s not just a case of CIOs possessing these skills, they also need to be able to pass on their knowledge and promote these ideals amongst staff members. One barrier to the success of this practice is not encouraging teams to embrace change and alter their mindset. Company culture often means that tried-and-tested techniques will prevail, even if they are outdated or no longer effective. Newer platforms or practices, from new messaging systems to cloud migrations are the responsibility of IT teams to promote and implement. So how should CIOs go about persuading the organisation to move to a new model?

80% of CIOs say IT can drive business success, but persuading others to break away from the tools they currently use and trust is a problem. In order to cultivate a mindset which is open to change, IT leaders must challenge the core beliefs of an organisation to overcome the resistance to new ideas. This can be achieved by asking teams to identify the issues with their tried-and-tested methods and experiment with new tools and platforms.

But it isn’t just the mindsets of staff that need to be altered. Senior business leaders also need convincing. 91% of CIOs feel pressured to cut IT department costs, meaning CIOs currently spend 83% of their time managing IT & communications platforms and resolving user issues, with only 11% of their time set aside for planning future innovation. Senior members of staff tend to view the success of the CIO’s team in terms of measuring system and application downtime. However, most CIOs would prefer to be measured on innovating the IT department and the wider team. By taking a proactive role in shifting emphasis from cost reduction to revenue generation, CIOs can champion change and prove that digital transformation is key to business success.

Once everyone is on-board, CIOs need to start focusing on people instead of systems, and these new mindsets need to be reinforced by developing habits and routines. By starting small with ‘mini milestone’ goals, the transitions will seem less daunting and will eventually become second nature. Instead of company culture being a barrier to innovation and further blocking the IT team’s desire to create change, workers will become both accustomed to and open to change.

Migrating to the cloud

Despite wanting to focus on new initiatives, IT leaders are spending most of their time dealing with other issues. One way to help CIOs find the much-needed time for strategic innovation is outsourcing services and moving to the cloud.

Cloud-based communication platforms are secure and provide flexibility to enable workers to get more done, meaning IT teams can focus on innovation. In fact, 96% of CIOs plan to have a formal cloud strategy in place by the end of this year. So, with 2018 stretching ahead of us, what does the future of the cloud look like and what do CIOs need to do to harness its full potential?

Successful CIOs looking beyond IT to wider business goals need to position the move to the cloud as a business-driven strategy and get everyone on-board with this. They can achieve that by evaluating the wider business needs and how migrating to the cloud will help meet these, meaning senior figures will be much more likely to approve the initiative. In terms of convincing staff, the key is to take things slowly in order for the task to not appear too daunting. By migrating to the cloud in stages, workers will find the changes manageable, instead of overwhelming.

Once teams have successfully migrated to the cloud and embraced the advantages this brings, CIOs can free up their time to focus on other priorities, such as mentoring and motivating their teams. These measures will ensure the CIO and the whole office is future-proofed and ready for anything in 2018 and beyond…

About the author

Amanda Maksymiw is responsible for setting and managing the Fuze content marketing strategy including creating, producing and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she’s worked with fast-growing tech companies and VCs on developing content marketing, influencer marketing and social media strategies. Amanda received her BBA in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst