New York Life’s Senior Vice President and Business Information Officer Dave Castellani was featured in CIO magazine's list of 20 IT resolutions for 2020 (free registration required.) A continued focus on increasing modernization is a common theme to CIO’s in 2020. It’s been happening for years, yet CIOs still have modernization on their agendas. They are still focused on retiring legacy systems and moving increasing amounts of workloads to the cloud. Dave Castellani says “modernization and simplification continue to be the main priority for New York Life. Doing this well means we improve our success on other key initiatives such as digital, data and protection.”
1) Focus on using technology to create higher quality more affordable services while improving interactions for administrators, medical providers and patients. – Bill Fandrich, senior vice president and CIO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
2) Take a pragmatic outlook. The next wave of digital transformation will take a more pragmatic look at its ability to improve revenue and costs. - Andy Rowsell-Jones, a vice president in Gartner’s CIO & Executive Leadership Research division.
3) The customer is king. Everest Group, the management consulting and research firm, polled senior executives from Global 1000 companies on their thoughts for 2020 and found that customer experience is their top concern. "The CIO has to be thinking about how to leverage technology to create a differentiated customer experience” says Larry Wolff, founder and CEO of Wolff Strategy Partner.
4) Build a better data program. Jimit Arora, a partner in information technology services at Everest Group, says many CIOs are specifically focused on improving data quality, data access and data governance as they realize it is foundational for digital transformation.
5) A proliferation of AI. West Monroe Consulting CIO Albert Ruocco says he believes that as organizational data programs mature and as smart technologies evolve, AI will become mainstream in his and other organizations.
6) Develop a product mindset to create dynamic customer experiences. Joseph Tobolski, CTO at digital consultancy Nerdery, says CIOs are increasingly following the lead of digital natives such as Facebook, Amazon and Google and “taking a page out of their playbooks on how to build and expose services and productize those services.”
7) Break down remaining siloes. IT isn’t just saddled with legacy systems, despite years of trying to shed them. CIOs say they also continue to deal with too many siloes within their organizations. It’s a situation that they say stymies agility and innovation.
8) Support and scaling agility. CIOs are also making bigger investments into the technologies and processes needed to support an agile organization including investing in application programming interfaces (APIs), Kubernetes, orchestration and containers to “create an industrial approach for bringing digital to market" says Andy Rowsell-Jones.
9) Support teams. Forrester Research sees a trend for CIOs in 2020, that is, a focus on supporting teams as well as organizational culture and organizational issues. “Leadership teams will look to their CIOs for technology solutions that solve these workforce composition challenges,” vice president and principal analyst Brian Hopkins writes in Predictions 2020: Uncertainty Equals Opportunity for the CIO.
10) Customize software to deliver differentiation. CIOs in the year ahead will have their teams putting more effort into customized software development.
11) Ramp up cybersecurity. In its list of top strategic priorities, National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) found cybersecurity and risk management as the No. 1 strategic priority among its members, with security enhancement tools and IAM the No. 4 and No. 5 items on the list of top 10 tools and technologies for 2020.
12) Prioritize privacy. CIOs are also putting privacy considerations on their priority list, as they see the need to up their partnerships with their CISOs and risk officers as well as the lines of business to develop stronger data governance programs that address both the California Consumer Privacy Act, which took effect Jan. 1, and the expected onslaught of state-sponsored data privacy laws.
13) Meet the expectations of Gen Z. After years of hearing about Millennials and their unique needs, CIOs and their C-suite colleagues are starting to deal with the next generation. “Gen Zs are a different group, and as they get into your workforce, they’re looking for different things,” Rowsell-Jones says. They’re looking for companies that can prove they’re operating in a sustainable manner, they’re asking about embedded carbon and recyclability, and they’re seeking cultures of respect. “IT can’t operate in isolation of these broader social trends,”
14) Upskill tech teams. Demand for tech workers remains high, with expectations of an even more competitive market in 2020. CIOs must also recognize the importance of training their existing workers.
15) Coping with uncertainty. Management advisors, researchers and analysts say they see executives entering 2020 with a high degree of uncertainty about what the next 12 months will hold, with growing concerns about a possible recession and further disruption in various industries. “As we look at the sentiment going into 2020, it remains optimistic, but not as much as it was entering 2019,” Arora says, explaining that only 45 percent of the surveyed executives expect moderate to significant growth this year. “That starts to temper budget expectations and project expectations.”
16) Manage expectations. CIOs are facing more pressure from their CEOs, C-suite colleagues and boards to deliver operational excellence, transformative innovations and cost-saving initiatives. They’re all good objectives, but as CIOs move forward they’re finding that they’re having to better set expectations without being seen as impediments to progress.
17) Delivering operational efficiency. The uncertainty hanging over 2020 makes operational efficiency a hot topic among CIOs once again, according to multiple management advisors and IT executives.. As a CIO, Dave Castellani agrees: “Efficiency in delivery will remain a highly consistent theme.”
18) Increase automation. Many reports which suggest that many CIOs will be investing more heavily in automation in 2020 as the technology matures, as they gain more expertise in implementing it, and as they feel continued pressure to optimize operations.
19) Invest in IoT. CompTIA lists the internet of things (IoT) and the way it is redefining IT architecture as one of its top 10 trends to watch in 2020. “The internet of things and AI are the two emerging technologies that are gaining the most traction with companies today,” Robinson says, noting that IoT enables for overall digitization. “The ability to digitize grows almost exponentially if you can put sensors on things.”
20) Embrace emerging tech that deliver returns. AI, machine learning, blockchain, edge computing, IoT, 5G and quantum computing are among the emerging and maturing technologies that CIOs are evaluating, testing and in some cases implementing. As CIOS move forward with these technologies, they’re balancing the buzz with more careful considerations of how emerging technologies can deliver ROI. As Castellani says, “New technology is always exciting, but you must prepare the ground in advance to maximize value.”
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