4 ways the cloud is helping CIOs to take a more strategic role in the business

The CIO’s role is evolving as enterprises accelerate cloud migration to meet their digital transformation goals. No longer is the CIO’s main job to help reduce infrastructure costs, ensure seamless and reliable access to technology resources, and support operational excellence. The role has expanded to include the responsibility of championing innovation, revenue growth and smarter ways of working.

According to IDG’s global 2022 State of the CIO survey, 86% of CIOs say their role is becoming more digital and innovation focused and 58% agree that CIOs are largely considered to be knowledgeable advisors that proactively identify business needs and opportunities. Whereas CIOs of the past where bottom-line focused, today’s technology leaders focus on the top-line opportunities, too.

With the move to the cloud, forward-thinking CIOs have the opportunity to become strategic guides in the organisation’s digital transformation journey. Having reaped productivity, efficiency and cost benefits from their early cloud deployments, smart CIOs are now focusing on how the cloud can be harnessed to drive innovation and revenue growth for the business.

These leaders are harnessing cutting-edge DevOps capabilities to deliver user-centric applications and services at higher speeds than ever before. By using the cloud and DevOps practices to simplify technology development and deployment, CIOs can focus more energy on delivering solutions and user experiences that give the organisation competitive advantage.

Here are some ways that the cloud is supporting the CIO’s journey from technology provider to a business, digital transformation and innovation partner to the enterprise:

  • Innovate: The true power of the cloud is unlocked when CIOs use cloud platforms to develop new services and applications that embrace cutting-edge capabilities such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. They can create customer-facing offerings that help the business to win new customers or improve customer retention.
  • Accelerate time to market: CIOs can leverage the cloud to release new applications and capabilities at high speed, facilitating digital transformation. This enables them to rapidly respond to changing market conditions and emerging customer or employee needs with new services and experiences.
  • Reduce risk: The cloud vastly reduces the costs and risks of experimenting with new applications and business models. CIOs no longer need to sink capital into data centre infrastructure to support the deployment of a new customer-facing application or experience; they can simply spin up a cloud instance and get to work.
  • Keep the lights on at lower cost: An optimised cloud environment can help CIOs to reduce their operational costs. This frees up operating capital, which can be diverted towards innovation projects instead.

In the age of digital transformation, a progressive CIO should support the enterprise with a blend of business acumen and technology expertise. Their role is increasingly about helping the business to use technology to deliver revenue-generating experiences that attract and retain customers. Because IT is embedded in everything a business does, the CIO should be a transformation agent and a guide to the opportunities of harnessing the cloud to gain that all-important competitive edge.

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