The 3 Biggest IT Challenges Facing Subscription Economy CIOS

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Data reveals that Subscription Economy CIOs face a hoard of strategic and tactical demands from the companies that want more, and less, from them. Wrapped around all of this is a stream of technologies that arrive more often than the newspaper did to your parents’ doorstep. More than half of recurring revenue-based CIOs expect the biggest IT skill shortages to come from the most dynamic technology domains: big data, business intelligence and analytics.

Here are the three biggest threats facing IT teams today, and some strategies to address these IT challenges.

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1. The Race Against Time

Global consulting and technology services firm Accenture says new CIOs have about 90 to 120 days to “make their mark”. All the while, successful veterans continue to see their turf shrink.

Digital technology has infused all parts of the business, inspiring non-technical leaders to drive innovation. In fact, only 34 percent of executives expect their IT organizations to lead the innovation charge over the next two years. This, compared to 71 percent support two years ago.

2. Conflicting C-Suite Agendas

The avalanche of social, mobile, cloud, analytics and digital technologies means CIOs must work with other, senior company leaders, such as CMOs, whose organizations continue to adopt the latest and greatest. Accenture found that 69 percent of CMOs recognize the need to align with IT, while 83 percent of CIOs said they need to align with marketing. A 14-point gap, yes, but smaller than the 21 percent gap when those numbers were 56 percent and 77 percent in 2012.
CMOs aren’t the only folks that will keep CIOs looking over their shoulder. Decades of traditional IT practices have siloed information across IT and LOB organizations. And though most CIOs stress that innovation is now a key facet of their role, they still must shake the reputation of being solely a back office manager.

3. Innovation Versus Maintenance

Nearly three-quarters of Subscription Economy CIOs say it’s tough to balance business innovation with their traditional role of maintaining IT operations excellence. Too little change will generate missed opportunities. Too much change too fast could wreck a company’s momentum, brand and bottom line.

Servcorp COO Marcus Moufarrige was CIO of the serviced and virtual office space provider from 2000 to 2012. He says CIOs must make their companies more competitive, productive and automated. This deviates from the traditional IT view of adding to an existing system or process that has grown over time.

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CIO Solutions

So what can Subscription Economy CIOs do? Accenture recommends four key tactics:

  • Involve the CIO when developing the marketing strategy and when reviewing and selecting external partners to help execute, measure and analyze against the marketing plans.
  • With a shared marketing/IT vision, invert the traditional organizational pyramid to focus all functions on the customer and eliminate silos in the process.
  • Integrate customer-focused skills throughout the company and share customer acquisition incentives and KPIs across marketing, sales, customer service and IT teams being evaluated on the entire customer experience.
  • Orient a digital marketing and budget model to facilitate an end-to-end customer journey. Focus on integrating technology, data and marketing services. Shift to the cloud and respond quickly to new customer requirement to add services.

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