June 24, 2024 | 5 min read
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The role of the CIO in 2024: Moving beyond technology leadership to deliver growth

Ben Elms

Chief Executive Officer

Today’s most successful CIOs are a new breed who face multiple pressure points on a daily, if not hourly basis. They ensure secure, predictable network connectivity and seamless data flow across the enterprise against a barrage of continuing macroeconomic, geopolitical and environmental headwinds. This has meant the role of the CIO has evolved. And rather than dwelling on the tech stack or how well the latest AI tool is performing, they’re laser-focused on the bottom line and how their digital-first strategy can deliver long-term business growth for the enterprise.

Moving beyond the role of the CIO as a traditional technology leader they’re now standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the CEO. They're stepping into the role of digital business leader.

Here’s how...

Digital maturity needs an enterprise-wide boost

Stepping strategically alongside the CEO, enterprise CIOs in 2024 recognize their responsibility for boosting the digital maturity of the whole organization. Making savvy tech investment choices goes without saying, but there’s also a need to partner smartly – to partner for growth.

This means choosing a digital-first partner with invaluable local market knowledge and insight. Ideally combined with global innovation capability and delivery heft. And, of course, the best CIOs understand that to reach digital maturity, a mindset shift is required. Not just within the technology function, but across the entire enterprise.

They work hand in glove with peers across the business to help drive internal culture change. They understand the importance of hiring new talent with specific skills. But also the need to increase existing capability by reskilling and upskilling teams. This will allow them to take advantage of a raft of new cloud-based, AI-driven tools and applications.

Long-term thinking coupled with fast-paced delivery

A long-term digital business strategy is essential. And as the CEO of a fast-paced digital-first business, I was buoyed to learn that for 40% of the CIOs IDC spoke to in preparation for the IDC InfoBrief, Enterprise Horizons 2024: Technology Leaders’ Priorities on their Digital Business Journey, their CEO is directly leading digital initiatives alongside them.

This kind of collaborative leadership comes naturally to me and my CIO. But in the past, CEOs have often taken a back seat when it comes to digital and tech matters. Leaving tactical decision-making to the CIO alone.

In a world where the demand for hyper-connectivity is relentless, every enterprise has to be a digital business at heart. No matter the sector or markets you operate in, employees and customers alike will demand hassle-free, secure and predictable connectivity. Wherever and whenever they want and need it, on whatever devices they have, for however long they choose. Let them down at your peril!

Invest in your network as the backbone for future growth

Overall, IDC surveyed more than 650 large enterprise CIOs and tech leaders across Europe, Asia and North America to reveal that, while many are navigating successfully, there is certainly room to improve. Particularly when it comes to partnering with the right Managed Service Provider to enhance enterprise network capability and reliability, and to provide 24/7 network visibility and control.

The top CIOs regard enhanced network capability and connectivity as the organization’s backbone, underpinning existing – and any future - investments in cloud, data, AI and machine-learning. It’s how the best digital business leaders of large enterprises are helping to grow the bottom line today. Because having a network that’s fit for the future, with the right AI and machine-learning tools, allows your business to flex, scale and adapt at the same pace as more nimble challenger brands and competitors.

To delve deeper into the role of the CIO and how it's changing, you can read the full Expereo-commissioned IDC InfoBrief Enterprise Horizons 2024: Technology Leaders’ Priorities on their Digital Business Journey here.

Ben Elms

Chief Executive Officer

Ben brings more than 20 years of operational expertise and leadership in the telecommunications industry. Before joining Expereo, Ben led the Vodafone Global Enterprise business as Group Director Chief Executive Officer.

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