5 Major Challenges Driving CIOs Today

By Nicholas Lee, Global Head of Offerings, End-User Services (EUS), Fujitsu

Nicholas Lee, Global Head of Offerings, End-User Services (EUS), Fujitsu

The potential for technology to enhance the enterprise and drive business value can hardly be overstated, but deep innovation can drive complexities and make for a very demanding landscape. Before we can define a strategy and vision for the future, we have to overcome the disruptive challenges in the here and now.

As the cycle of innovation speeds up, dynamics in the enterprise world are shifting beneath the feet of CIOs. Instead of every five to ten years, new disruptive technology is emerging every two to three years now. This creates risk, uncertainty, and complexity. Embracing and harnessing that new technology is the path to strive for, but there are some major challenges to overcome first.

Coping with Consumerization

Everyone is on board with consumerization. Forrester research found that 61 percent of people feel more productive, and 43 percent of people have higher job satisfaction, because of consumerization-friendly technologies. The benefits for users are tangible, but this trend has to be supported, and that means coping with complexities in terms of security, data residency, and multiple devices.

How do IT departments cope with the growing tide of devices and operating systems? Management and security is far from straightforward. There's a real need for simplification. The BYOD trend has also created a serious headache with regard to corporate versus personal data. How do you combat malware? How do you set up a robust and secure backup process? How do you separate data? What happens when a device goes down?

When you consider that, according to Manufacturing Business Tech Journal, 49 percent of companies are still struggling with basic asset management and do it manually, without employing a common tool set, then you get an idea of the scale of this challenge.

Cyber Attacks on the Rise

Dealing with security for consumerization in a static environment would be tough, but cyber attacks are actually on the increase. IBM research estimates that the average company faces 1,400 cyber attacks and 1.7 incidents every single week. The potential cost and disruption caused by combating this is enormous, and the chance that malware and breeches will go unnoticed is high.

Mobile App Challenges

With rapidly changing endpoint technology, many companies are still grappling with the question of whether to DYI mobile apps or buy them. Then you have to find consensus on features and design. Consider that 52 percent of the applications currently in use are not optimized for mobile devices, they're not even mobile-friendly.

On the traditional web service side, 49 percent of apps have limitations due to the limited connectivity of mobile devices. Without cellular data or Wi-Fi, those applications can be rendered useless. How do you resolve these competing factors? How do you get a full application environment that's workable on every single device?

Massive Market Growth

All of this is set against a backdrop of rapid growth. Citrix says the Enterprise Managed Mobility (EMM) market has a compounded annual growth rate of nearly 18 percent. By 2018 the market will be worth $2.5 billion. How do you integrate all this emerging technology? How do you find the right solution for your business when there's so much choice?

An Aging Workforce

Back in 2010 the over 55 age group made up around 20 percent of the workforce, but by 2020 that's going to be closer to 40 percent. People are staying in the workforce for longer. This creates a generational divide. You have a younger generation, a middle-aged generation, and an older generation, and each one of them interacts with technology differently. They don't share the same learning curve with regards to different technologies and platforms. That means investment in education and training has to go up.

Surviving the Perfect Storm

Is it any wonder, with these challenges surrounding them, that the majority of CIOs are stuck in a reactive cycle? Betanews found that 70 percent of CIOs spend their time running the IT business, and with 18 percent of time going on general tasks, that only leaves 12 percent for innovation. They aren't being afforded the time they need to build and execute a vision for the future.

Planning for an integrated and aggregated future is the right path. As we learn how to leverage it, we can recast the same technology as enabler, rather than disruptor. CIOs, who are able to embrace the complexities, and exploit them for business value, will ultimately realize the benefits of these new technologies.

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