CIO and IT Priorities, Trends, and Predictions for 2024

Shadow AI will be a challenge.

  • CIOs struggled with “shadow IT” in the past, and the new chapter in the IT playbook is about “shadow AI.”
  • CIOs wrestle daily with how much or how little to embrace generative AI and what guardrails should be in place to safeguard the enterprise. But ChatGPT and Bard have swung the door open for shadow AI in our organizations.
  • Each organization’s risk tolerance is different, but well-intentioned employees will use the new technology to increase efficiency.

Step up your data literacy game.

  • As companies, specifically CIOs, look to enhance efficiencies and increase productivity by embracing generative AI, CIOS must have a data-first mindset.
  • Generative AI requires that we have our data in order. That means we have good data management practices, including data access, hygiene, and governance. 
  • Organizations with poor data management practices will find that generative AI isn’t as productive for them because it lacks well-managed data to create answers. Put: People trying to use generative AI without having their data in order will find it not working.

Better manage your cloud spending with FinOps.            

  • FinOps is an emerging practice of managing an organization’s cloud spend. It’s based on financial management disciplines that take advantage of the inherent variability of cloud use.
  • FinOps is similar to turning off the lights in your house – no need to keep them on all day. But variable usage isn’t how most IT organizations run.
  • Technologies, services, and infrastructure are always on in a corporate data center. IT organizations are used to this model and struggle to utilize the cloud’s variable usage. Failure to take advantage of this cloud feature turns a public cloud into a costly data center. FinOps addresses IT’s inexperience with variable cloud usage environments. It provides processes, metrics, best practices, roles and responsibilities, automation, and tooling so IT can better manage variable cloud spend.

Storytelling is a must.

  • Now more than ever, as CIOs find themselves an integral part of corporate strategy, it’s imperative that we get comfortable telling our story to our C-suite peers and the company as a whole.
  • CIOs need to be able to lean into data and analytics to illustrate the value they’re bringing and the impact they’re having on the corporate direction.
  • Being transparent about challenges, how we address them through implementing people, processes, and technology, and the results we see are critical parts of building trusted relationships with our peers and our employees.
  • A robust IT organization is no longer an option for companies because we use new technologies daily to improve our businesses. CIOs can no longer hesitate to highlight how we influence and enable the strategy to set our organizations up for success.

Get serious about effectively retiring tech debt.                

  • Tech debt is appropriately named. Often hidden, it drains labor resources, adds complexity in ways that make new projects harder to deliver, requires costly spending on extended vendor support, and frustrates business leaders who don’t understand why IT doesn’t deliver more business value.
  • Combating tech debt starts with good continuous lifecycle management programs that categorize technology into understandable groups IT can act upon.
  • However, reducing tech debt through lifecycle management is useless if more debt is added. That’s why a committed enterprise architecture program to help map technologies to business processes sets the foundation for technology standardization. Delivering any new technology that adheres to enterprise architecture target states and technology standards significantly reduces new technology debt.

Jay Upchurch is the Executive Vice President and CIO at SAS.

Image Source: Freepik

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