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CIOs shift gears and shift focus to innovation and customers

A new leadership model is emerging for the CIO. An IBM study from five years of research shows a changing agenda for CIOs. CIOs in outperforming organizations often view the business much like the CEO. More than 80% of CIOs are shifting gears — from the back office to the front office. This means engaging with executives from marketing, sales and customer service to help them find, win and retain customers. The study from IBM outlines how the outperformers do it.

Although CIOs are acutely aware of the need to make their enterprises more responsive to the influence of customers — not just customer-centric but customer-activated — they're also conscious of how important it is to keep everything running smoothly. For CIOs, then, three specific issues are top of mind. They must:

  • Engage with digitally enfranchised customers
  • Excel at the basics
  • Boost internal and external collaboration

But engaging effectively with customers in the digital era isn't just about creating the right channels; it's also about understanding, anticipating and delivering what individual customers desire. CIOs appreciate the implications. They want, above all, to get better at drawing useful customer insights from the information their organizations collect. This focus on learning what customers want and delivering it with excellent customer experiences drives their new agenda.

Drive growth with data and analytics

  • Strengthen relationships with C-suite. Work closely with your peers to clearly identify the business imperatives that will drive technology initiatives — translating the goals, aspirations, and challenges of stakeholders into specific programs that deliver results back to the business.
  • Become an information steward. Implement or source analytics capabilities and predictive tools to systematically track, anticipate and measure behavioral trends, and identify personal customer insights.
  • Architect the digital blueprint. Identify and implement the tools and processes needed by the enterprise to better understand and predict customer needs and desires.

Enable business transformation with cloud

  • Get the basics right. Use a formal and structured architectural approach to define and develop strategic and core IT capabilities and identify the most effective way to develop or source the required capabilities in each area.
  • Build a scalable Infrastructure. Create a flexible, open, and accessible architecture to support platforms for collecting, storing, modeling and analyzing structured and unstructured data sets.
  • Develop sourcing and *aaS models. Critically assess which workloads are appropriate for deployment as digital services in-house and off-premises to streamline operations and support business development goals.

Ensure secure, seamless digital engagement

  • Create secure collaborative platforms. Facilitate internal and external collaboration via social and mobile tools by creating a secure platform and governance structure that engages digital users where they are.
  • Educate for the new digital enterprise. Create a information-driven culture that understands how to use the most effective data analytics and visualization tools and interpret their results.
  • Secure IT infrastructure. Focus on preventing, detecting and addressing security breaches. Use real-time intelligence to monitor your systems and build security into the very fabric of the organization.

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More information for CIOs

Moving from the back office to the front lines