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The 2017 CIO: 7 Trends for the Year Ahead

December 15, 2016 No Comments

Featured by Andrew De La Torre, Head of Technology, Vodafone Americas

2017 will be a critical year for the CIO. We are in the midst of a major technological revolution, and as businesses face unprecedented technological transformation and new generations enter the workforce, the CIO will play a crucial role in the ongoing challenge to ensure their organizations stay competitive in the marketplace.

As we move into 2017, here are seven workplace, innovation and economic trends the CIO must consider in order to ensure their organization is prepared to evolve with today’s technological landscape.

Empowering the Liquid Workforce

Is it the end of the “job” as we know it? Socioeconomic, technology and employment trends are changing the ways of working as a new generation of workers are introduced, and CIOs need to embrace the change. These new workers are known as the “Liquid Workforce” since they quickly shift and move between jobs and companies. They are educated and informed individuals who know what they want to do and how they want to do it, so they’re motivated to seek out and access the digital tools they know can help them succeed. The Liquid Workforce is loyal to the way they do their jobs instead of to the job itself. Without the ability to use the tools they wish, these employees are likely to leave a job for a destination where they can access the right tools. Because there is a strong link between employee engagement, productivity and commercial success,CIOs need to make their companies true marketplaces for employees to go to when looking for productivity tools, or they risk losing talent.

Innovating in the As-A-Service Economy

As physical and digital boundaries blur, businesses are re-inventing themselves with new business models that challenge traditional thinking. Considerations to help companies move toward smarter business practices include better operational performance and right-sizing operations, platforms for co-creation to boost innovation and personalization of production. These considerations reflect changing consumption preference toward “renting” rather than “buying.” In order to meet these needs, IT must collaborate across all parts of business to implement essential tools for these services, such as cloud applications.

Competing in the Gigabit Society

In an increasingly digital world, advanced technology is rapidly moving into the mainstream and transforming businesses, creating both opportunities and challenges. The core driver behind executing digital transformation within a company is connectivity. CIOs need to ensure that their organization can support the sophisticated capabilities that people now demand to gain access to the data and processes they want to engage with. This means ensuring secure, gigabit communications, as copper-based legacy infrastructure will soon be insufficient to support business needs. CIOs must also guarantee superior secure high speed connectivity and other enabling technologies.

The Importance of Data and Analytics

There has been an emphasis on data and analytics for the past few years now, however, many organizations have not figured out where to start. 2017 must be the year CIOs start taking advantage of data and run the right analytics to ultimately drive change. Companies can build a foundation for their entire business by coupling the pure data they have with proper analytics processes.

The Potential of Machine Learning

CIOs must explore the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning, built on top of data and analytics. As companies shift entire processes and data into a digital environment, CIOs have the opportunity to build entire operations that run autonomously and offer speed of delivery or tailored services to customers that is not currently possible.

Become the Strategy Officer

Given that technology is rapidly changing the way organizations do business, the CIO needs to be at the center of an organization’s strategy. Since the CIO is at the center of the technology transformation inside an organization, they need to have a seat at the table that sets the strategy for business transformation. The CIO has the pulse on what emerging technologies are available to a company and how they can be best implemented, so this knowledge should be part of a company’s strategy or they risk being left behind while competitors evolve.


Cybercrime will continue to be a top concern for the 2017 CIO and other business leaders. As more business processes become fully digital and the growth of smartphone devices in the workforce continues, malicious attacks gain more potential entry points into an organization. The threat is now too large not to be a crucial component of any strategy and will be at the forefront for IT decision makers in the coming year.

As evolving technologies continue to impact the ways businesses interact with customers, partners and the world around them, the CIO will be an integral part of organizational shifts within their business. From increased importance on how data and analytics are implemented, to the shift to an as-a-service economy, to the changing face of the workforce itself, 2017 will present the CIO with a host of opportunities to drive their business forward in an ever-changing environment.



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