future-goals-croppedAs CEOs look to expand their organization’s growth in existing and new markets, the CIO is playing an increasingly important role in helping the enterprise to meet its objectives. 

For instance, 40% of CIOs say their function will be vital to successfully developing customer-facing solutions, creating global capabilities, crafting new revenue opportunities and fostering innovation within their companies, according to a 2018 study of 400-plus CIOs conducted by Forbes Insights with Intel and VMware. 

Clearly, one of the ways that CIOs and technology executives can help the organization in this regard is by identifying technologies that can help move the needle for the company and to potentially offer a competitive edge. 

At Deloitte, the use of robotic process automation (RPA) technologies has resulted in substantial value for Deloitte and its clients across a number of applications, says Quintin McGrath, Senior Managing Director, Technology Management & Enablement (TME) group at Deloitte Global. 

“Deloitte is seeing significant benefits from RPA, not only from an IT perspective in the multiple people years being saved in automation for testing and operations, but also for Deloitte client services, such as bringing in data from multiple sources and driving improvements in speed and quality,” said McGrath. 

McGrath will be participating in an executive panel discussion on ‘New Technologies – Gaining an Inside Track on the Competition’ at HMG Strategy’s 2019 Chicago CIO Executive Leadership Summit on March 5. 

For other organizations such as the Illinois Housing Development Authority, a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and preservation of affordable housing across Illinois, the focus is on hardening its business operations.

“We’re actively working on improving the resilience of the organization as a whole,” said Scot Berkey, CIO for the agency who is an Advisory Board member for the upcoming Chicago summit. “We need to keep our operations going since interruptions can impact thousands of individual homeowners and multiple larger real estate development projects.”

One of the ways Berkey and his team are doing this is by leading both management and staff through the process of identifying the priority of its business processes, as well defining different scenario response processes across the agency. “For instance, during the recent arctic blast, it was too cold for some people to safely come into the office,” says Berkey, referring to the recent arctic plunge in the Midwest where temperatures in Chicago fell to 12 degrees below zero and wind chills were over 50 degrees below zero. “This was the first time an enterprise-wide work-at-home option had ever been provided to IHDA staff,” said Berkey. The IT organization quickly orchestrated the telecommuting capabilities and processes used during the arctic blast, including the technologies used to access core systems.

To effectively communicate the potential benefits from investing in advanced technologies to the C-suite and the board, McGrath recommends focusing on the business value to be obtained. “For the C-suite and the Board, it’s about how you take advantage of these technologies to help to drive business innovation and agility,” says McGrath. “From the CEO’s perspective, communicate your vision for the use of these technologies as a way of preparing your workforce to be ready to address future business demands.”

As Berkey sees it, successful CIOs aren’t merely talking about technologies such as analytics and blockchain. “They are having conversations with the board about business strategy and how technology relates to those business opportunities. I am part of the organization and I happen to have technology in my toolbelt. It’s about communicating across the organization and solving business problems and understanding what the priorities and returns are,” says Berkey. “When those business-focused conversations start happening, all of a sudden your sphere of influence starts to grow and you’re asked to work on more strategic initiatives.”

To learn more about the Chicago CIO Executive Leadership Summit and to register for the event, click here.

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