5 imperatives facing CIOs in 2017

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In today’s digital age, where every company in every vertical must invest in technology to stay competitive, the CIO role continues to take on more and more importance across all aspects of company operations. Whether it’s creating and implementing technical innovations to accelerate product development for early market revenue and dominance, building software applications that drive operational efficiencies, or developing data analytics programs and platforms to make faster and more accurate strategic and tactical decisions, the CIO’s influence on revenue and profitability has never been higher. It’s imperative that today’s CEOs invest in the role of the CIO as they strive to generate more revenue and profit through technical advancements.

In 2017, CIOs will face five key imperatives: 

1. CIOs must create organizational data analytics strategies.

In 2017, CIOs will play a critical role in helping organizations in all industries utilize the massive amounts of data they generate for improved strategic and tactical decisions, which ultimately will help increase profitability. More data was created in the last two years than the previous 5,000 years of humanity. In 2017, we will create even more data in one year alone. Yet, recent research has found that less than 0.5 percent of that data is actually being analyzed for operational decision making. 

CIOs have the opportunity and responsibility to help organizations shape their data analytics strategies. In some cases, this may mean modernizing legacy applications so teams can take advantage of technical advancements in the area of data analytics and visualizations. The overall demand for data analytics is increasing due to several factors: the increasing amount and complexity of data, key technology initiatives such as IoT and big data, the increased expectation from application users to be able to access data everywhere, increased demands for real-time data analysis, and an increased need to share data across device types and users. 

2. CIOs must embrace web technology.

Given time, resource, and profitability pressures, CIOs must invest in technologies and platforms that will help them improve operational efficiency and technical team productivity. Organizations can no longer afford to create the same application multiple times with different teams for different platforms. Web technology offers the promise of creating an application once and delivering the right experience on the right screen at the right time to the end user. According to findings of a global survey, “The State of the Modern Web,” recently conducted by Dimensional Research and sponsored by my company, Sencha, 93 percent of development professionals say web technologies are critical to their strategy for desktop and mobile.

3. CIOs can’t ignore the desktop but should let go of legacy browsers.

Despite the predictions of mobile taking over the world, the desktop is here to stay. In fact, it will likely be around for another 30+ years. People want to view and analyze complex data sets on large monitors - not on a smartphone. In today’s workplace, it’s not uncommon for a large percentage of workers to have multiple monitors on their desk.

According to the previously mentioned Dimensional Research study, 80 percent of development professionals believe desktop applications are “absolutely essential” to their business operations. The desktop remains the most critical platform for business applications due in part to the massive explosion in the complexity and volume of data. 

CIOs will also need to lead their team in understanding when to move away from legacy browsers in order to take advantage of the key advancements in the world of web technology. Dimensional Research also found that 65 percent of development professionals only support modern browsers, which include Internet Explorer 10 and above, as well as Chrome, Safari and Firefox. 

4. Every CEO will need a trusted technical leader.  

As we move deeper and deeper into the digital age and technology becomes more prevalent in all industries, CEOs will become more generalists who are focused on building the right teams to succeed, rather than being an expert in every topic. Every company in every industry will become a technology company – or get left behind. As part of this evolution, the role of the CIO will become increasingly critical. CEOs will need a trusted technical leader who can help create the bridge between the business strategy and objectives and the supporting technological infrastructure, software development, and support needs. This is an opportunity for CIOs to take on a more strategic role in the organization.

5. Software developers will rule the digital world. CIOs need to find them and keep them.

One of the key challenges CIOs will face is finding and retaining talented software developers. Software developers are critical because they have the power to turn ideas into amazing applications, which drive operations and businesses around the planet. Hiring and retaining quality developer talent will become even more critical as organizations feel the increasing pressure to deliver sophisticated, complex and long-lasting applications quickly, while still providing high quality, long-lived products. 

As the role of the CIO continues to evolve, one thing is clear: those who understand and follow these five imperatives will provide incomparable value to their organizations and play a key role in making 2017 a banner year for revenue and profitability.

Art Landro is CEO of Sencha, a company providing a unified platform for designing, developing and testing cross-platform web applications. With over 25 years of global business experience, Art brings to Sencha deep operational expertise across sales, marketing, product development, services, and support.