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In a world where disruption is our “new normal”, the technology sector remains the most disrupted sector of our economy. New technologies, new methodologies – it’s continuous and the pace of change is unrelenting. As the head of technology in any business, be it the CIO or otherwise, you will face challenges specific to technology in 2020 – what are they likely to be and how will you prepare yourself.

International technology research leader, Gartner, has connected with its industry experts to bring us insights on how the technology industry thought leaders perceive these challenges and how to prepare for it.

  • Moving your mindset As a technology leader in the business, you rub shoulders with leaders from disciplines such as Finance, Sales, etc), but you need to find a way to level the mental playing field with your colleagues in the organization. You will need to move your mindset from that of a specialist in technology to that of being a general manager in the business. Your role will evolve to becoming a partner to your specialist colleagues to collectively (as a team) achieve the digital ambitions of the business with you bringing intensively refined IT skills to the mix. This will disrupt you on a more personal level, because you will need to unlearn, learn and relearn to let go of the prejudices and views that may be preventing you from progress.
  • Embrace disruption In the technology sector, it is seldom true that CIO’s are not aware of imminent disruption, be it new technologies or otherwise. Some CIO’s are still prone to adopting defensive tactics and this will simply not work if your organization is to attain its digital objectives. How you cope with that disruption has to evolve into embracing it. You will need to identify who within your team is going to be responsible for disruption and how they should take ownership of it through discovering, learning and designing new practices in the road to success.
  • Societal effects Decisions taken by CIO’s indelibly impact on society overall and CIO’s will be expected to be more alive to that. The CIO in 2020 will be expected to predict and mitigate for the societal impacts of the decisions that they take.
  • Exercise tight internal controls Even small businesses need to create and maintain internal controls that would deter or detect fraud. Ensure that you restrict access to financial account information, that access to inventory is controlled, expense reimbursements endure multi-person signoff and, as the business owner, that you perform a review of your books of account – and ask questions!
  • Leverage tools and relationships The environment of the CIO is arguably “unruly” as a result of the extent of continuous and disruptive change. For many CIO’s, the experience is at times akin to “noise from all sides”, which makes it more difficult to concentrate on what is most important and filter out the real noise. The tools that you rely on to filter out that noise will be critical in managing your time, as will leveraging key relationships to attain meaningful progress.
  • Recruiting for talent The rise of API’s and other similar technologies are in their own a source of significant disruption as the CIO is expected to embrace this technology while attaining business outcomes and ensuring an ongoing improving customer and employee experience. Upskilling your existing talent pool to understand these technologies will be as challenging as finding talent that can “hit the deck running” with a practical and tested knowledge of such apps.
  • Implementation bias Implementing your ideas and taking them from concept to value is a challenge that is familiar to you as CIO. From resistance to change to strategic objections and protests of changes in processes, these are all arguments that the organization will touch on to resist implantation of new technologies. Calling on tried and tested implementation tactics of leading industry professionals will help you to implement change easier, as you will be able to implement their learnings and improve your probability of early adoption. Gartner strongly advocates connecting with industry and thought leaders as a coping strategy for CIO’s. Perhaps leveraging your key industry relationships will be more important than one predicts on the road to leading technology change in your organization in 2020.

The MMS Group is a leading firm of auditors, accountants and tax specialists, with more than 25 years’ experience in working with business owners, entrepreneurs and general management. Reach out to us for advice for your business or division through our website https://www.mmsgroup.co.za/contact/.

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