Research Agendas

HMG Strategy’s Research Team is committed to tracking the most critical leadership and technology trends that matter most to its members, including the essential leadership progressions that are aimed at helping technology executives in our network strengthen relationships with the C-suite and board of directors and accelerate their career ascent.

1. Resilient Leadership: Leading Globally Through Fearless Reinvention to Deliver a Secure Digital AgendaSupply-chain disruptions and other macro-economic challenges are creating headwinds for technology executives and fellow members of the C-suite to execute on and achieve strategic goals. The fast-changing socio-economic landscape is prompting technology executives to become more creative than ever and to draw upon authentic and inclusive leadership skills to inspire their teams, cultivate a collaborative culture, embrace innovative approaches and foster strong partnerships to leverage hot technologies such as AI, cloud platforms and cyber technologies to securely move the needle for the business and win in tumultuous times.

2. Leveraging Your Personal Brand to Recruit and Retain a World-Class Team. In the face of challenging economic conditions, research reveals that the global talent shortage will continue to go unabated into 2023. A research study conducted by Korn Ferry reveals that by 2030, more than 85 million jobs could go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled people to take them. Savvy technology executives who demonstrate authentic and compassionate leadership and who maximize their personal brands can act as talent magnets to help attract and retain the best and brightest in order to move the business forward and help the executive team meet its strategic goals.

3. Applying a Fresh Mindset to Address Top Threats Shaping the Cyber LandscapeCybersecurity continues to rank as a top priority for CIOs, CISOs and business technology executives, according to an ongoing survey among technology leaders conducted by HMG Strategy. It’s hardly surprising, given the massive escalation of ransomware, nation-state, supply chain and other types of cyber-attacks that continue to be unleashed. As the threat landscape continues to change, CISOs, CIOs and business technology executives need to apply a fresh mindset to their cybersecurity strategies to successfully safeguard the enterprise. This includes identifying the types of cyber skills that are needed to defend the organization on a go-forward basis.

4. Striking a Balance Between Cost-Reduction and Innovation. Many CEOs and CFOs are traditionally focused on reducing costs in a tough economy. Since technology spending often represents the largest area of capital expenditures within most companies, many CIOs, CTOs and technology executives are being asked to find new ways to cut costs and make operations more efficient. However, research reveals that companies which continued to invest in innovation during a downturn outperformed their peers. The current economic climate creates an opportunity for CIOs and technology leaders to not only demonstrate how they are helping their organizations to reduce costs but also how they are identifying and executing on sources of innovation that can kickstart business growth.

5. Building a Resilient Global Supply Chain. Supply-chain disruptions have become abundant over the past two years, impacting companies across a wide range of industries. Meanwhile, the SolarWinds and Colonial Pipeline attacks have forced CISOs, CIOs and other executives to place a fresh lens on how to better safeguard their organizations from supply-chain attacks and other disruptions. Forward-thinking CIOs, CISOs and other global technology executives are identifying technologies such as AI to help make their supply chains more resilient and cost-efficient.

6. Open Arms: Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programs. One of the most dramatic changes that has occurred with corporate culture over the past two years is that the heightened focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. These and other changes, including widespread calls against racial and social injustice, has spurred a heightened focus by Boards of Directors and executive teams to accelerate diversity, equity and inclusion programs across the enterprise. These shifts have prompted a growing number of technology executives to play a more decisive role in shaping DEI programs, including efforts to ensure that diversity cascades across all levels of the enterprise and not just at the Board or executive level. 

7. The Technology Leader as Cultural Change Agent. One of the top challenges cited by CIOs, CTOs, CISOs, CDOs and technology executives in the HMG community is finding effective ways to keep employees engaged and motivated in both a hybrid work environment and in a difficult economic climate. Savvy business tech executives continue to look for fresh ways to foster a connected, motivated and inclusive culture – both for long-term employees as well as new hires to help strengthen employee engagement, productivity and business outcomes.

8. Becoming Boardroom-Ready. Corporate boards are hungry for tech expertise. Since most companies are digitally operated, this is one of the chief reasons why boards are increasingly recruiting technology executives who understand the intersection between technology and the business. Meanwhile, within the companies they work for, CIOs, CDOs, CISOs, CTOs and other technology executives need to be able to clearly articulate to the CEO and the Board how technology can be leveraged to deliver business value, including new business models and revenue streams. These skills can also benefit technology leaders who aspire to land board-level positions with non-profits, private and other types of companies.

9. Positioning Yourself for Your Next Big Move. Some CIOs, CDOs and senior technology executives aspire to other roles in the C-suite such as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Strategy Officer – even Chief Executive Officer. Some set their sights on board-level positions while others are interested in joining not-for-profits and other roles aimed at benefitting the public good. Whichever course each technology leader decides to take, it’s imperative to extensively research the role in question, understand the individual strengths being brought to the table as well as the gaps that need to be addressed as well as the need to connect with other executives – including those outside your primary network – to obtain different perspectives for charting a successful course. 

10. Technology and ESG: The CIO’s Role in Driving SustainabilityEnvironmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a hot topic among Boards of Directors, regulators and investors. ESG, also referred to as sustainability, is prompting deeper discussions at the executive level in terms of steps that can be taken by organizations to reduce their carbon footprints and to help make both their business and environmental models more sustainable. As COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation efforts, CIOs and business technology executives are poised to play a significant role in either adding to or reducing their organization’s carbon footprint. CIOs and business technology executives in the HMG community can and should partner with the executive team to orchestrate their organization’s ESG efforts and help devise strategies to enable their companies to reduce their carbon footprints.

1.  Tapping Hot Technologies to Move the Needle for the Business. A key component behind the value that CIOs and business technology leaders bring to the executive table is their ability to identify advanced technologies that can help move the needle for the business. This includes the use of artificial intelligence, ChatGPT, machine learning, automation, multi-cloud, the Internet of Things, data management and analytics, edge computing and other technologies.

2. Designing the Future of Work in an Elastic, Hybrid Workplace. In the three years that have passed since the start of the global pandemic, technology executives have learned many lessons about how workplace technologies need to change to address the evolving behavior of a hybrid workforce. For instance, companies are shifting away from the use of VPNs which slow down user productivity and leave organizations exposed. Companies are instead adopting Zero Trust Network Architectures (ZTNA) that can deliver reduced complexity, greater protection and a better user experience. Meanwhile, with employees continually shifting between locations, companies are increasingly relying upon collaboration platforms and tools to foster brainstorming and innovation between in-office and remote teams. These are some of the primary factors that are prompting technology executives to work with fellow members of the executive team to conceptualize and execute on what the future of work looks like.

3. Drawing Upon the Flexibility and Resiliency of Multi-Cloud Environments. As enterprise companies expand their use of the cloud, they typically rely on multiple cloud providers to meet their needs and to achieve greater redundancy, business continuity, and reduced reliance on a single provider. Most executives cite best-of-breed opportunities and cost optimization as their primary objectives under a multi-cloud strategy, according to a study by IDG.

4.  Adapting to an Evolving Threat Landscape with a Future-Focused Approach. As ransomware, supply-chain attacks and other types of cyber-assaults continue to grow in complexity and volume, traditional cyber strategies and techniques to safeguard the enterprise need to be re-examined and refreshed. Add to these challenges the continuing cyber skills shortage that CISOs and their organizations are facing. As such, we expect to see heightened investment in cyber technologies that can help address these and ancillary cyber requirements, including autonomous cybersecurity, data security, and cloud security.

5. Positioning the CIO as the CEO of Digital Transformation. Digital market disruption continues to create havoc – and opportunities — for companies across all industries. At the current churn rate, roughly half of the companies in the S&P 500 will be replaced over the next ten years, according to Innosight. In order for businesses to survive and thrive, CIOs and technology executives will need to step up and partner with their CEOs and Boards to identify how digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, Big Data, analytics, edge computing, low-code platforms and cloud computing can be leveraged to craft customer-focused business models, identify and execute on new business opportunities and enable the enterprise to gain a competitive edge.

6. The Shift to SASE: Tackling Risk and Inspiring Trust in a Cloud-Connected World. As companies increasingly rely upon cloud infrastructures to support their global operations, the notion of a network perimeter no longer exists. This is one of the reasons why a growing percentage of companies are adopting a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) network architecture to provide edge-to-edge protection across enterprise infrastructure. As companies progress with their digital maturity, a growing number of organizations will rely on SASE network architectures to help protect sensitive data while continuously assessing risk through enhanced visibility.

7. Reimagining How Workplace Requests Get Resolved. Employees generate thousands of requests each day at the companies they work for, ranging from IT support to HR assistance and other inquiries. These demands, which are being exacerbated by the challenges in attracting and retaining IT service desk personnel, helps to explain why a whopping 98% of U.S. IT and business leaders polled in PwC’s 2022 AI Business Survey say they have accelerated their use of AI or are planning to increase their use of automation in order to reduce their hiring needs.

8. Leveraging the Versatility of ChatGPT. The availability of OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot tool is creating a plethora of new use business use cases for productivity gains and new revenue opportunities, ranging from near-instant code fixes to crafting personalized customer offers to providing employees with self-service HR and IT support. Still, tech leaders will need to beware of hackers utilizing these tools to craft phishing emails and malicious code and other potential nefarious use cases.

9. The Rise of Low-Code and Ctizen Developers. One of the top priorities cited by business technology and security executives in the HMG community is the ability to enable the business to move with speed and agility. To that end, CIOs and business technology leaders are increasingly leaning on technologies such as low code/no-code platforms as well as citizen developers (the process under which non-IT business users build custom business apps without formal programming training) to better enable business leaders and employees to identify and act quickly on shifting customer behavior, business conditions and market shifts.

10. Tapping IoT and Edge Computing for the Business. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and data are creating new insights for executives in manufacturing, retail, construction, entertainment, insurance and other industries. For instance, plant floor managers can analyze IoT data to predict when a machine will require maintenance based on vibrations, sounds and other physical factors. Meanwhile, the “trivergence” of AI, blockchain and IoT, as coined by Don Tapscott, will usher in a next-generation Internet where a distributed ledger records and secures IoT data while AI is used to analyze it. This trivergence will herald a new wave of business and operational insights and capabilities, ranging from the ability to avoid unanticipated and expensive downtime for plant floor equipment to quickly analyzing and responding to changes in customer behavior.

For additional information, contact HMG Strategy’s Senior Research Director Tom Hoffman at