CEOs’ top priorities for IT leaders today


He sees CEOs also asking CIOs to educate and train employees on AI, and prepare them for the changes AI and other technologies will bring. Addressing diversity and equity within the IT ranks is another chief executive directive Shim sees on the rise for CIOs today, as is advancing the organization’s sustainability efforts by enabling applications that track and support ESG data and by devising green IT strategies.

Shim also notes CIOs’ need to strengthen their organization’s data infrastructure so it can glean more value from data as something CEOs continue to seek from IT execs today.

And he  predicts these areas will only become higher priorities for CEOs in the coming years — and thus higher priorities for CIOs, too.

“These may be topics where a CIO can work to get ahead now rather than wait,” he adds.

Piecing the priorities together

CEOs’ priorities for their CIOs demonstrate that the C-suite now knows that IT is instrumental for organizational success, experts say.

“CEOs today have a sophistication around understanding tech, and they are more technology literate than before,” PwC’s Phaneuf says. “They’re getting informed, and they know enough to ask the right questions. And it’s not just CEOs. It’s boards and all of the C-suite. They’re all becoming more tech literate and more tech savvy, and that has elevated IT.”

Phaneuf says CEO priorities for IT also demonstrate a recognition of how work in one area of technology enables others.

It’s no surprise then, she says, that CEOs’ No. 1 mandate to for CIOs to lead digital transformation. More and more CEOs understand that they need a modern IT environment if they want to adopt AI, rationalize IT spend, and implement modern security protocols.

Likewise, CEOs realize they need AI to enable differentiating customer experiences, she adds.

At the same time, Phaneuf says CEOs want CIOs and their business colleagues to be strong collaborators (No. 3 on the State of the CIO list) so that together they can identify use cases where technologies will deliver demonstrative value and “to make sure that business-embedded technology is accreditive, that it adds to the business versus distracts from it.”

“CEOs are asking CIOs to modernize, to get rid of tech debt, to get data in shape, to work with others, because they know if they don’t do all that, they cannot innovate and adopt new technologies,” Phaneuf says. “It’s about the ability to be as nimble and agile as others in the market.”


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