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CIO Priorities in 2020

CIO, business strategy

Who is a CIO in today’s world? Their role has been evolving over the years. It has gone from simply being top management to someone who is a technology expert, business strategist, and comes with some serious leadership qualities.

According to Gartner’s latest report, nearly 95% of CIOs expect their role to change with the times, in tandem with digitalization and advancement in technology. The report was compiled after studying several companies and interviewing CIOs – and/or those on that level – across the industry.

When you look at a company, the CIO is at the core of decision-making. They are the ones who make business-related decisions and focus on growing the business, creating opportunities in the market, driving innovation, adopting new technologies such as Cloud Computing, AI, and much more. This goes to show that CIOs understand the importance and value of going digital, as they adopt new technologies and strategies, and also address big data-related challenges.

The Gartner report says…

Apart from these, if we were to study the Gartner report in length, it talks about how the CIO is today facing challenges from customers, but also within the business. They need to be on top of all aspects of the business if they wish to stay ahead in the game. This is probably why CIOs are good at handling crises, which is an element that Gartner CIO agenda mentions. Today, it is very clear that organizations faring well have agile executives.

Crises demand that the person on top remain unfazed and stable when it comes to making timely decisions that will cut costs for the company and the level of risk as well. But then, the other side of the coin is that it could hurt the organization, especially in the resource acquisition arena. But then CIOs need nothing more than the 3A’s to sail through the crisis and come out a winner.

CIO Priorities in 2020


When you look at companies that are faring well, they outperform others simply because the CIO held the organization together and as a unit, they worked towards the goal, which had been altered to suit the situation.

The key capabilities here are – great leadership, disciplined vision, continuous strategy development and building robust relationships. The CIO tackles these by improving decision-making capabilities and reducing the time taken for the same.


Here, the company acts pre-emptively, instead of waiting for something to happen. Therefore, they are one step ahead of the game, with an eye out for new trends and working with their IT team in executing the strategies drawn up.

The key capabilities here are – anticipating changes, balancing the risk-taking tasks and IT as a differentiator. In this case, the CIO works as an enabler and encourages self-management across IT.


With this aspect, the CIO and IT leaders transform their entire organization into the instrument of change, thereby making necessary changes and marching ahead.

The key capabilities here are – working with a fluid culture and enterprise agility. What the CIO creates is a culture within the organization that is all about growing with the company and continuous learning, apart from which they also identify new behaviors that are needed in the IT team.

Here are three key aspects of 2020

Changing the Leadership Mindset

One of the biggest challenges in 2020 is going to be with the shift in the CIO mindset. They need to re-look at their roles and make the jump from being just managers to technology experts. This is one way to build on their strengths within the IT network. It will also help them achieve new heights in the digital arena. Therefore, CIOs have some unlearning to do before they can take on the new shift and move ahead.

Handling Disruptions

Where there are a process and technology, there are bound to be disruptions. But the challenge is in overcoming them and making sure they don’t recur. Sometimes these disruptions are foreseen, and the CIO can plan with strategies. It is always good to have a proactive approach to strategies that help deal with the disruptions. There is a table provided by Gartner in their CIO Agenda that talks about how the CIO tackles the uncertainties and emerges a winner…

Gartner Source

CIOs also need to identify roles that are responsible for identifying and sorting out the issues arising thereon. It is said that prevention is better than cure, and the same holds in a business environment as well. The CIO is expected to play a defensive role and facilitate changes in policy, practices, processes, and mindsets.

Prioritizing Cybersecurity, Cloud, and AI

Enterprises that are on the path to growth and gain competitive advantage will have CIOs willing to make the necessary changes. This starts with enhancing cybersecurity, strengthening the IT core, and adjusting budgets accordingly. There is a definite shift in spends within the business, with more money being allocated towards digitalization than merely on machines or resources. The CIO’s priority is all about adopting new systems related to employees, clients, and IT security.

According to the Gartner report, today’s CIOs are increasingly leaning towards areas such as application, analysis, and other forms of cloud computing. There is greater investment in this space, which is making a difference to a company’s financial performance. It will elevate the company’s digital presence and put it among the top players, giving it an edge over others.

Through these changes, CIOs are on the path towards getting maximum ROI from as many initiatives as possible.

Customer-centric Environment

A business grows when its customers are satisfied and happy with the results. For this to happen, in 2020, CIOs will change how they work. They will work closely with the team that interacts with the customer directly and strive to serve them better. CIOs will work in sync with the marketing team and ensure that desired results are achieved.

As for the role of the CIO in an enterprise, companies are looking at them in a new light, respecting them for the skills and abilities they bring to the table.

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