5 Trends That Should Matter to Every CIO in 2024
Jan 26, 2024
No chief information officer (CIO) can escape the impact of artificial intelligence (AI). As transformative as the arrival of the desktop computer, generative AI, in particular, has sparked the beginnings of truly enterprise-wide AI.
That’s a key finding of a recent MIT report, “The Great Acceleration: CIO Perspectives on Generative AI.” The report notes, “Technology teams no longer have to ‘sell’ AI to business units; there is now significant ‘demand-pull’ from the enterprise.”
This is just one of several trends shaping the C-suite agenda in 2024. For CIOs, tasked with ensuring IT strategies are deeply integrated and contribute to the broader business goals, these trends are highly relevant. With a clear understanding of where the industry is heading and what technologies are emerging, the CIO can be proactive, foresee disruption, and protect the organization from unforeseen setbacks.
For this blog post, we selected five trends that should matter to every CIO this year:
Data Governance Makes Notable Entry
While generative AI may have stolen the media spotlight, TechTarget highlights savvy CIOs are simultaneously making another move. They’re turning their focus inwards, towards the oft-overlooked cornerstone of digital success: data governance. In fact, CIOs rank data challenges as a top obstacle to delivering on business model transformation, according to a 2023 survey by PwC.
ERP cloud migration, analytics implementation, and AI integration – the path to data-driven excellence can be daunting and complex. PwC emphasizes that in 2024 CIOs should beware of viewing data modernization as synonymous with the deployment of new technology.
High-Quality Data Drives Value
Rather, it should be a holistic approach that prioritizes breaking down data silos, establishing impeccable data governance, and ensuring robust privacy and cybersecurity. A 360-degree view of data, in turn, enables informed decision-making at all levels. Nearly half of CIOs told PwC they are overhauling their data platforms to drive business growth.
CIOs who champion data governance understand that AI algorithms are only as good as the data they feed on. Without high-quality, well-managed data, AI projects can become expensive experiments with uncertain outcomes.
Cloud Adoption Needs to Prove Clear ROI
In 2024, migrating to the cloud is no longer the finish line but the starting point. To truly unlock the value of tech investments, PwC names cloud engineering a CIO top priority. Beyond simply building virtual servers, it includes leveraging cloud-native software development methodologies to migrate data, update infrastructure and applications, and accelerate innovation.
But navigating the cloud’s potential requires more than just technical chops. Effective cloud engineering hinges on strong collaborative relationships among the C-suite peers.
Cloud Cost Considerations Receive Growing Attention
Despite widespread cloud adoption (78% of CIOs have implemented it in most or all areas), many organizations (over half) struggle to achieve desired outcomes. Everest Group, a global research firm, found as many as 87% of clients are dissatisfied with the value they are getting from cloud adoption.
Recognizing this disconnect, cost conversations are shifting in 2024. CIOs are demanding clear ROI models from their cloud providers and tech partners. These models should track the cloud adoption journey, estimate the timeline for achieving positive ROI, quantify upfront and ongoing investment needs, and determine the ideal number of workloads to migrate for optimal return.
Generative AI Reaches Tipping Point
Generative AI, capable of producing highly original text, code, and creative content, has in a short time moved from being a future possibility to a present reality impacting major industries. Research from Accenture and McKinsey predicts significant automation potential, with estimates suggesting that 40% of current work activities across sectors like banking, insurance, and software could be augmented or replaced by generative AI. This automation potential climbs to 60-70% when considering related technologies.
While Goldman Sachs acknowledges that two-thirds of U.S. occupations will be affected by AI-powered automation, they emphasize that this doesn’t equate to mass unemployment. Most jobs will be partially exposed, leading to complementation rather than substitution. The MIT Technology Review also points to historical data that shows how technology-driven job losses have been balanced and even exceeded by new technology-related positions.
What’s In It for the CIO?
For CIOs, the focus shouldn’t be on fearing disruption, but on understanding and capitalizing on the opportunities. Generative AI offers significant potential for:
- Enhanced productivity: Repetitive tasks can be automated, freeing up human talent for higher-value work like strategic problem-solving and creativity.
- Improved decision-making: Powerful data analysis and insights generated by AI can inform better business decisions.
- Innovation acceleration: Generative AI can rapidly prototype new ideas and concepts, boosting innovation cycles.
- Talent recruitment and retention: AI-powered tools can streamline talent acquisition and personalize employee experiences, contributing to a more engaged workforce.
While certain roles, particularly in software development, may change, new opportunities will arise in areas like responsible AI governance, data science, and operational efficiency. CIOs should focus on upskilling their workforce to adapt to these changing needs and ensure a smooth transition.
Noriko Rzonca, Chief Digital Officer, Cosmo Energy Holdings, tells MIT Technology Review, “In the next five to ten years we will see how quickly we can adapt, and companies that fail to adapt, no matter how big, are going to disappear.”
Vulnerability Management Takes On Increased Significance
In 2024, cybersecurity priorities are undergoing a fundamental shift. Gone are the days of solely focusing on malware and ransomware; vulnerability management has become the new battleground for CIOs. This strategic pivot, as evidenced by SAP’s recent focus change, is driven by three key trends: stringent regulatory compliance requirements, increasingly complex hybrid IT environments, and mounting economic pressures.
This isn’t simply a theoretical concern. SAPinsider research reveals unpatched systems as the top cybersecurity threat, ranked alongside credentials compromise and ransomware attacks. The links are clear: compromised credentials grant hackers access, while vulnerabilities offer backdoors for malware and ransomware deployment.
SAP Turns Focus on Proactive Cybersecurity
Consequently, SAP concluded the evolving cyber landscape demands a proactive approach. However, this strategic change presents its challenges. As Andrew Morrison, a Deloitte principal, notes in TechTarget, aligning cybersecurity strategies with business goals while balancing risk with operational efficiency can be a tightrope walk. CIOs need to bridge this gap, ensuring cyber considerations are embedded within their overall business strategies, especially during the rapid pace of digital transformation.
As organizations push data to the edge, embrace the cloud, and explore next-generation technologies like generative AI, potential vulnerabilities inevitably arise. Security-by-design – both for existing systems and future implementations – becomes the key to staying ahead of attackers.
By prioritizing vulnerability management, proactively addressing emerging threats, and integrating security seamlessly into their technology strategies, CIOs can turn cybersecurity from a hurdle to a competitive advantage.
The Talent Challenge Requires Outside Expertise
The tech talent shortage has been a returning headline for years. And rather than soften demand, the rapid integration of AI into technology strategies has ignited a surging need for AI-savvy talent, CIO Dive reports. However, CIO Dive also writes this peak may not be permanent, with demand potentially stabilizing in the mid-to-long-term. Nonetheless, the present challenge is real and pressing.
Companies report a lack of skilled AI talent as a major hurdle to implementing generative AI projects, as highlighted by an O’Reilly Media report. According to CompTIA, this obstacle is further amplified by consistently low IT unemployment rates, hovering around 2% for most of 2023. This tight IT job market fuels even greater competition for the limited pool of AI specialists.
Looking ahead, the ongoing evolution of AI as well as other technologies will inevitably influence how companies approach their talent strategies. Leading providers like Microsoft and Google are increasingly focusing on tools and capabilities designed to augment human workers, maximizing their efficiency and productivity.
One solution: Outsourcing Managed Cloud Services
Companies facing the immediate talent challenge can consider a multi-pronged approach:
- Internal upskilling and reskilling initiatives: Programs to equip existing employees with the necessary tech skills can fill critical gaps.
- Strategic external partnerships: Collaborating with specialized consultants or agencies can address needs, such as the management of business-critical applications and cloud migrations.
- Rethinking recruitment strategies: Targeting talent with transferable skills and focusing on fostering a culture of continuous learning can attract promising candidates.
By adopting an adaptive approach to talent acquisition and development, companies can surround themselves with the right support, ensuring resilience even as market conditions change.
Final Take on the Tech Trends that Matter to CIOs
The true value of knowing these trends lies in strategically aligning them with business objectives and executing those strategies effectively. CIOs can leverage 2024’s tech landscape not just to keep up, but to leapfrog the competition and drive transformative success for their organizations.
Do you need help? Our team of experts can support your business’s digital transformation every step of the way. oXya’s managed cloud solutions, consulting, and deep SAP expertise give you the peace of mind you deserve. Get in touch with us for practical advice and solutions that fit your needs.