Many of us at Nitro—from our Product and Solutions Engineering teams to Sales and our CEO—have had the pleasure of meeting with hundreds of CIOs from around the world.
Over the past 6 months in particular, these conversations have brought to light a set of recurring themes that paint a broad picture of what the future of the CIO looks like:
The Future of the CIO and of broader IT departments is dependent on the ability to impact overarching business success. As IT budgets and resources stagnate, CEOs and other C-suite members are looking to the office of the CIO to take on more responsibility and strategic projects.
For example, the words “Innovate!” “Disrupt!” and “Transform!” have become fairly commonplace when describing the role of CIOs and their teams.
These are all very powerful notions that can feel daunting – and from an IT perspective, they signify huge undertakings and high price tags, not to mention a lack of a definitive set of actions. In essence, it’s a pretty abstract notion.
At the same time as CIOs are being charged with these major projects, IT budgets and resources are unfortunately not growing in tandem. More than half of organizations we’ve spoken to over the past six months said their companies are NOT growing IT staff in 2016, and the average increase in planned IT budget in their organizations was negligible at best.
The ongoing directive from the CEO to the CIO is, “Let’s make our businesses and employees more efficient so they can better serve our customers” – and in this current period of global economic uncertainty, businesses of all types and sizes will be required to become more efficient than they ever have been in order to compete.
So then, how can a business achieve a productivity lift and subsequently improve the customer experience without a massive investment in a new ERP or systems or infrastructure upgrade, which we all know also requires significant human capital investment as well? Here are some insights that can help CIOs map a course to a successful future.
Tackle the low-hanging fruit.
Where can CIOs make small investments in areas that have demonstrable benefit in the very short term and ongoing ROI in the long term?
We are often told by CIO’s around the world that each and every year a handful of projects that deliver almost instantaneous ROI are necessary to ensure that the office of the CIO is constantly impacting on business value, thus allowing other longer term initiatives the time they need to build and develop.
Now, Nitro has been able to ensure in thousands of enterprise organisations every year that at least one low-hanging fruit project—that being document productivity—is delivering back to their entire knowledge workforce 20% more productive time every week. We have been able to deliver ROI for our customers in a matter of a couple of months. Moreover, we can prove the returns with our data platform showing that benefit. The impact is immediate and significant.
But just as it’s important that the CIO deliver quick efficiency and productivity gains, it’s equally important that the CIO knows how to delight and engage his customers.
Focus on customer experience.
In the coming year, CIOs should become better acquainted with and actively engage customers in order to optimize experiences with their brand and products—emphasizing usability, simplicity and utility. Give them something that they love using and makes a difference to their day.
If part of a CIO’s wheelhouse is to ensure that business process is optimized and efficiency is realized, it’s imperative to first get insight and buy-in from the vast majority of customers. From the finance administrative assistant to the Director of HR and even the at-home consumer—each customer will need simple, familiar and consistent solutions that can have a profound impact on their busy day.
Consider partnerships with technology startups.
Over the past year alone, Nitro has developed both informal and formal partnerships with some of the largest organisations in the world.
These global enterprise partners of ours are looking to leverage Nitro’s ability to innovate and disrupt.
We now are working with these organisations on R & D projects with our team of Data Scientists in San Francisco. These projects are on the bleeding edge of Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence as they relate to document insights—the results of which are likely to revolutionise the way document content is extracted and interpreted across these global businesses.
This is an example of what a future-focused CIO needs to consider—the ability to partner and engage on innovative projects that wouldn’t normally be taken on in-house—not only because of a lack of capital to spend, but also lack of specific talent in your organisation.
Some of the world’s best startups (Nitro being one of them) are keen to test drive their investment in ideas and people—with partners like the office of the CIO.