Technology touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives. As consumers, we use a range of technologies to make it more convenient for us to find and evaluate products. Cars and home appliances are becoming smarter thanks to artificial intelligence and other technologies. Even daily chores such as vacuuming can be directed by voice-activated sensors.

As technology advisors, CIOs play a critical role in providing guidance to the C-suite on various ways that technology can be applied to streamline operations, improve the customer experience, and even provide the enterprise with a competitive edge. And thanks to their unique view of the enterprise, CIOs are also well-positioned to identify opportunities for applying advanced technologies across different parts of the enterprise to deliver distinctive services to customers.

There’s an ever-growing stream of advanced technologies that companies can exploit for a potential market advantage. One emerging class of technologies that companies across multiple industries can leverage is communications capabilities and applications for the Internet of Things (IoT).

There are myriad potential applications for using IoT, including wearable devices that can provide patients with real-time information about current medical conditions while transmitting this information instantaneously to healthcare payers and providers. Smart appliances can allow a homeowner to adjust the temperature of their home when they’re out or to preheat an oven using a smartphone. Energy companies can use IoT data to keep commercial clients informed about their energy usage along with opportunities for reducing energy consumption and increasing cost savings.

Advanced algorithms that are strengthened by machine learning are allowing companies to improve their understanding of customer needs and preferences. Smart algorithms are also increasingly used by companies to generate relevant messaging and highly-targeted offers that increase the likelihood of conversion. Financial services companies are using machine learning to detect and prevent fraud. Healthcare organizations are even using machine learning to predict wait times for patients in hospital emergency rooms.

CIOs can also take a page from Uber, Lyft, and other companies that have carved out successful offerings in the on-demand economy through the savvy use of technology and customer data. For instance, as the financial services industry has been disrupted by a host of new entrants such as Lending Club and Bitcoin, companies in other industries such as retail could develop secure e-commerce capabilities that remove banks as middlemen in transactions.

The CIO sits at the edge of technology and innovation. He or she is capable of drawing on their access to advanced technologies and envision new ways to create value for the company.

As Ralph Loura, former CIO of the Enterprise Group at Hewlett-Packard Company points out in an HMG Strategy Transformational CIO blog post, CIOs have moved from the back office to the front lines and are maturing into seasoned executives with strategic vision. “Our role is enabling the business to provide amazing experiences to our customers,” said Loura. “When you look at great companies today, they all focus on the needs of their customers and users.”

Key Takeaways

  • As technology advisors, CIOs play a critical role in providing guidance to the C-suite on various ways that technology can be applied to streamline operations, improve the customer experience, and even provide the enterprise with a competitive edge.
  • Thanks to their unique view of the enterprise, CIOs are also well-positioned to identify opportunities for applying advanced technologies across different parts of the enterprise to deliver distinctive services to customers.
  • There are numerous ways for companies across multiple industries to use the Internet of Things to deliver value-added services to customers.