Despite the societal and health impacts affecting all, 2020 presented as a mixed bag for business. At the start of the lockdowns in March 2020, most significantly downplayed their projections for the remainder of the year. By the end of last year, some executives have shared that they are projected to see stellar results surpassing their expectations.

From my discussions with senior technology executives in the market, it was clear that those that “sank or swam” during COVID19, displayed significant correlation to the pace and maturity of which they had prioritised digital transformation.

We believe 2021 will only continue this momentum. Some are playing catch up, whilst others are pressing forward to secure positioning in this new environment. With Boards and Executives having accepted the uncertainties in the foreseeable future, it is expected that they must push ahead to remain competitive and ensure shareholder returns.

As we continue the trends accelerated in 2020, regardless of industry, CIO’s should become closer advisors to business strategy as organisations of every level become ever more tech-enabled and data-driven.

As we return to the office and start anew, I thought it would be worthwhile to share some broad insights impacting CIO’s that we at Blenheim Partners observed last year:

  • Role and Influence – Depleted budgets have seen expanded remit of the CIO, absorbing the luxury of a dedicated Chief Digital or Chief Technology Officer. Some report directly to the CEO whereas, others have seen the role of technology regress, reporting only to the CFO or Head of Strategy.
  • Cybersecurity – Boards’ attention for cybersecurity and data governance has never been greater, and as a result, there is added expectation CIOs ensure confidence in mitigating cyber-risk. CIO’s have commented on these increased expectations perhaps requiring a dedicated CISO, or senior information security officer.
  • Value Add – 2021 will bring added anticipation that technology leaders not only navigate the on-going uncertainty but can deliver outcomes and value in this environment. CIO’s will not be given the comfort of “wait and see.” Those who can initiate and drive new initiatives to deliver outcomes will be highly sought after.

Industry commentary across the full spectrum indicated that 4 in 10 CEO’s expect their CIO or equivalent technology leader to become a key driver of business strategy, more so than other top executives such as COO, CFO or CMO combined.

My question to you is, do you sit within the 4 in 10? Have you and your team been positioned for success as you look ahead?

Do you have the budget and more importantly, surrounded yourself with the best talent to deliver?

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