CIOs have a significant opportunity to drive a transformation and innovation agenda in 2023. Despite the global economic outlook pointing to ongoing market disruption, inflation, and recession in many parts of the world, organisations are going to want to continue to invest in technology, and this will benefit both employees and customers.

Research in the The Human-Centered Insights To Fuel IT’s Vision 2022 report, conducted by Reach3 for Lenovo, 2024, shows that 20 per cent of the Global 2,000 CEOs will report an increased appetite for risk and improved resilience. As Deloitte research highlights, the reasons for this come down to handling disruption.

“Almost 100 per cent of responding leaders believe their organisations will face serious threats or disruptions in the next two to three years,” the Deloitte report notes. “They’re concerned about the breakneck pace at which their organisations must develop, deploy, and manage new technologies. And they’re keenly aware of technology’s potential to disrupt business models, customer behaviours, and markets.”

Delivering the technology that will assist the organisation to deliver an innovation strategy and address the challenge of disruption will not be easy. The Lenovo and Reach3 research shows that 76 per cent of CIOs are finding it a challenge to balance business innovation and operational excellence. Many IT leaders are still grappling with the shift to hybrid working environments and the massive shift in IT strategy that is required for that to be viable over the longer term.

Additionally, CIOs need to understand that in a highly disrupted global market, resilience means being flexible and able to adapt. According to a report on CIO, 72 per cent of IT leaders are frustrated by their business leader’s changing of priorities. There’s little alternative there, however. Businesses need to adapt to rapid changes in the macro environment, and this means business strategies will be under constant review.

By focusing on the experience, both for employees and customers, the CIO can lead positive disruption and innovation, while at the same time promoting stability and resilience across the organisation.

How the employee experience affects resilience

One great concern that business leaders have is the ongoing impact of the global “Great Resignation”. While there are signs overseas that the trend is easing, in Australia it may just be getting started. A recent PwC study found that 38 per cent of Australian workers are looking for a new job, and this is contrasted with 73 per cent of leaders finding it difficult to attract new talent.

Employee retention is, therefore, a critical part of organisational resilience. Businesses that have too high churn will struggle to fill critical roles, let alone be in a position to adapt to changes and disruption in the market.

The CIO can be part of the solution. Lenovo and Reach3 research shows that employees are 85 per cent more likely to stay at their job for three or more years, and are 230 per cent more engaged when they feel that their technology supports them at work. This does mean using technology to enable employee’s preferred ways of working (for example, employees want a hybrid work environment where they only spend one day in the office), and it means ensuring that they have all the software and hardware tools that they need to enjoy a seamless and flawless work experience.

Consumer demands and habits are changing

According to the CIO Technology Playbook 2023 study by Lenovo, organisations will generate as much as 43 per cent of revenue from digitally-connected products, services and customer experiences by 2027. CIOs and other IT decision makers are actively looking to leverage technology to optimise supply chains and improve asset utilisation, agility and resilience with this in mind.

To execute on the opportunity here, CIOs need to deliver an IT environment that is seamless and where uptime is guaranteed. The more an organisation relies on revenues from the digital sphere, the more expensive uptime becomes. To assist in achieving this, CIOs will want to look to consolidate vendors and find end-to-end suppliers, where interconnectedness between technologies and applications is built in and doesn’t require the IT team to finesse it.

A good example of how a CIO can deliver this is via the latest Lenovo devices, powered by Intel. For example, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, powered by Intel vPro, An Intel Evo Design, is built for what IT needs and users want.

Additionally, CIOs will need to consider sustainability, as corporate responsibility has become a hot-button subject for consumers. According to a Lenovo study, 60 per cent of consumers prefer brands that reflect their personal values, and 80 per cent consider sustainability to be part of their value system. 60 per cent of consumers are willing to change buying habits to reduce environmental impact, meaning that IT decision leaders need to find vendor partners that can display proven sustainability credentials.

To address the organisation’s challenges across both employees and consumers, CIOs need to take a leadership role within the organisation. The opportunities are there, and the understanding of the value that IT returns to the organisation among others in the executive layer has never been clearer. CIOs have a real opportunity to drive a progressive and value-adding agenda through the next few years of disruption.