Forrester: It's time for CIOs to step up, automate what works, and reskill displaced personnel

CIOs hold the key to growth, and should not be subordinate to the CFO or COO for fear of having performance measured on the wrong metrics.

Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2019: How CIO's can challenge the status quo CIOs that have an agenda to modernize and transform their service delivery need to focus on three key aspects: Scale, agility and cost-effectiveness.

With the global economy careening into unparalleled uncertainty—given the protracted Brexit debacle, trade wars, tightening regulation, and foreign policy decisions changing with the direction of the wind—the potential for transformation projects to be disrupted are likely to increase. Amid this uncertainty, it's time for CIOs to leverage this opportunity to "showcasing their tech-driven innovation, people management, and ecosystem-building skills," according to Forrester's Predictions 2020 for CIOs report.

Forrester predicts that CIOs will automate 10% of IT tasks as a means to counteract slowing growth in 2020. Automation is anticipated to "erase a net 1.2M jobs in the US alone," with first level technical support and technology provisioning first to be cut. These workers displaced by automation should be retrained for complex tasks as part of Agile / DevOps teams.

SEE: How to become a CIO: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

Likewise, CIOs are likely to push for bigger budgets for data processing, as costs associated with processing data from edge systems, costs of data processing and transit between public cloud and on-premises systems "will outstrip storage," according to Forrester, noting in the report that "Advanced firms will understand the benefits of getting all this right and double or triple their data strategy budget."

Forrester also sees CIOs playing a larger role in HR decisions, predicting that "In 2020, CIOs will take on workforce composition, skills-based learning, employee development, and talent acquisition," with a fair bit of friction due to the different operational styles of the two departments. Workforce analytics and cognitive science will lead, with CIOs anticipated to become "'trusted advisors' on human capital management (HCM) technology to help their firm adopt a 'core and explore' approach to HR portfolio rationalization," the report states.

In concert with this HR focus, Forrester also notes that CIOs should report directly to the CEO, as a CFO or COO will measure performance in terms of financial or operational goals, " neglecting growth-oriented metrics," which could result in the appointment of "chief growth officers instead of addressing the core organizational problems," the report states. 

For more, check out "Rain fade on your parade: Why 5G use cases in business are still years away" and "AWS billing is broken and Kubernetes won't last, says irreverent cloud economist Corey Quinn" on TechRepublic.

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