Top 5 Priorities, Challenges For CIOs To Recession-Proof Their Business

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As organizations enter the second half of 2022, CIOs must balance managing technology investments for business value and growth, while being more fiscally conservative among challenging economic conditions.

CIOs have spent the last few years in a challenging juggling act. They have been reacting to new consumer demands, emerging business conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and positioning their businesses to be more adaptable to future disruption from unpredictable events and business conditions.

During the Fall and Winter of 2022, CIOs will be faced with even more challenges as predictions for a recession and economic uncertainty will cause many companies to pull back on investment and hiring. CIOs will be further pressured by their CEOs and boards to deliver results to the bottom line with technology investments.

This is confirmed in the Gartner 2022 CIO Agenda Survey, which found that it was no longer enough for CIOs to just implement technology for discreet applications. Instead, they must focus on strategic changes that can be scaled for the business to use across the enterprise. 

CIOs agree that the “new normal” is disruption. And organizations that leverage innovation and technology properly can deliver the scale and agility required to hit enterprise goals.

Look for CIOs to focus on these top five priorities and challenges during the impending economic downturn. 

1. Cloud Migration

Many companies are choosing to move some, if not all, of their applications and infrastructure to the cloud, whether in a private, public, or hybrid cloud situation. This allows companies to consolidate their technology stacks, and potentially make them more efficient with better analytics to see where money is being spent.

In the second half of 2022, look for more infrastructure and core business applications across the spectrum moving to the cloud. From CRM systems, to customer data platforms, to ERP platforms, companies will be moving further along their cloud journey by shifting towards more cloud-based infrastructure. Some companies are even moving storage into the cloud in a hyper-converged infrastructure model.

A cloud-based infrastructure lends itself towards serving businesses that have dispersed workforces. CIOs want to ensure all members of the workforce have the same employee experience, whether they are in-house or remote. Cloud-based technology solutions can help CIOs ensure remote and non-remote workers can collaborate successfully.  

2. Tech Stack Consolidation

The old strategy of acquiring companies and letting them keep their own tech stacks will be gone after 2022. In late 2022, CIOs will be expected to consolidate their tech stacks for cost savings, and to improve business performance with more advanced all-in-one solutions.

The Global Customer Data Platform Market size is expected to reach $20.5 billion by 2027, rising at a market growth of 34 percent CAGR during the forecast period. CIOs need to plan for data migrations to these new consolidated platforms, as well as integration and interconnectivity with the rest of the technology stack. They must make sure they have the skills and plan to do this consolidation without impacting business performance.

3. Embracing Emerging Tech

CEOs and board members will look to CIOs to deploy forward-looking and future technology solutions to not just make their business more efficient and effective, but to align to business goals and improve business performance.

Solutions like the customer data platform, advanced analytics visualizations, and AI/ML powered applications (like chatbots) are all core to how businesses can both alleviate overworked marketers and call service employees, while  providing value to the business. Companies that leverage a CDP will be able to tailor the customer experience across all touch points, provide a single customer view to align the organization around, and use AI to assist in laborious manual tasks.

These new technologies need to be vetted by CIOs to ensure that their budgets are allocated appropriately to ensure investments are aligned to ROI-generating projects.

4. Cost Management

CIOs will be under pressure to review and reign in all costs, from ensuring cloud spend is optimized to doing an ROI analysis on technology services. Leaders need to look at their tools and platforms for efficiencies to review ROI and expense overhead.

In a recent survey, 63 percent of leaders said their company plans to expand the use of customer data in the next 12 months. Fifty-one percent said they will create an in-house team dedicated to customer data strategy or customer data management, and 57 percent said they plan to implement a tool to centralize data.

The benefits of centralized data management include greater efficiencies and business growth. Additionally, the survey found that larger enterprises are more likely to have a clearly defined strategy that is strictly followed versus their smaller counterparts.

5. Centralized Data Management

Data is the fuel that modern businesses run on, and CIOs must focus on centralized data management and leveraging data for business value throughout Fall and Winter of 2022. CIOs should be looking at centralizing data to be leveraged for additional revenue sources during the downturn. 

As businesses move towards cloud-based and as-a-service-based architectures, the need for a centralized data management solution to gather and make sense of all that data increases significantly. 

Also, as consumers shift towards primarily digital-first interactions with brands, the ability to both understand customers across multiple channels and deliver customized messaging and experiences to them is critical to differentiating your business from competitors. 

Understanding that data with advanced analytics and visualizations is another key differentiator CIOs can deploy to leverage that data to address customer needs and business goals.

The Future CIO

The CIO role continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. CIOs will need to evolve their roles from keeping lights on for IT services and applications to being a strategic partner to the business who leverages technology to make their businesses more efficient, effective, and profitable.  

Into 2023, CIOs should be focused on cost management, exploiting existing data for business value, leveraging forward-looking technology investments to execute modern, data-driven business strategies, and consolidating their existing tech stack by migrating appropriate infrastructure and applications to the cloud. 

Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson is the Founder and CEO of RoC Consulting, a digital consultancy that helps brands establish the optimal balance of content, technology and marketing to achieve their goals.