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Revenue-generation now key CIO skill

From tech leader with business experience to business leader with tech skills…

If you’re feeling as though your tech role is rapidly changing and expanding far beyond the traditional realms, you’re not on your own.

Covid has pushed CIOs to the front of organisational change and it’s reshaping their roles too, pushing them out of the back office and into the spotlight leading digital transformation, shaping business strategy, working with customers and taking on increasing revenue responsibilities.

Ninety-six percent of CIO respondents in IDG’s 2021 State of the CIO Survey reported that they’ve seen an expansion of their role beyond traditional IT responsibilities.

CIOs need to drive revenue and business outcomes directly.

While security management and improving IT operations and systems performance remain key areas, along with aligning IT initiatives with business goals (40 percent), modern IT challenges and wider business challenges are also lining up for CIOs to deal with.

CIOs in the survey noted a move beyond traditional IT responsibilities, leaving them grappling not only with modern IT responsibilities, such as data analysis, data privacy and compliance, customer experience and business development, but also the creation of new revenue-generation, which 68 percent said is now among their job responsibilities.

In order to support the creation of new products and services to become more revenue-driven, organisations are automating business and/or IT processes, creating teams focused on innovation, interacting directly with customers and developing a customer journey.

It isn’t entirely unexpected of course. It’s been there in the CIO Survey for a number of years and the pandemic clearly accelerated the need for CIOs to pitch in to help with the bottom line.

Last September, Gartner fellow Partha Iyengar, cautioned CIOs that they needed to drive revenue and business outcomes directly, saying they needed to ‘look beyond their own functional cost base to the wider impact IT can have on the enterprise’.

Even pre-Covid, things were rapidly changing. A McKinsey report back in 2018 noted that just eight percent of companies surveyed believed their current business model would remain economically viable if their industry continued digitising at its current rate.

From productising previously internal apps to opening up platforms to customers, companies are seeking new revenue streams from IT.

Auckland City Council director of ICT Mark Denvir recently told iStart the council is also among those looking to commoditise some of its technology.

But it’s not just about productising offerings. Reducing friction in interactions with customers, is also key, with 81 percent of those in the CIO survey also reporting an increasing focus on IT innovation and new technologies to enhance client and employee solutions.

It also highlights how the pandemic has amplified the need to reach customers through digital channels.

A new MIT Technology Review Insights survey echoes those findings, with more efficient customer experience delivery ranked the most critical objective in digital transformation projects by two-thirds of respondents.

MIT says respondents are seeking to improve digital channels in particular, followed by analytics and personalisation, and AI or automated customer engagement tools.

It cites the example of Melbourne-based public hospital group Austin Health, which in 2019 identified home-based care as critical to its future service delivery. In order to execute on that outreach strategy, a common customer relationship management platform needed to be built, accommodating numerous specialty departments, each with their own apps to communicate electronically with patients.

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