Technology and digitalization are changing the way businesses operate, so IT leaders are uniquely positioned to propel their companies forward in innovative ways. That means leaders must constantly consider the technology, business, and economic environments to ensure their priorities fit with the ever-changing IT landscape.
To learn how they plan to ensure the future success of their organizations, we reached out to eight CIOs/IT leaders to ask what’s on the agenda for 2024.
8 Expert Agendas for Tech in 2024
Prasad Ramakrishnan, CIO at Software Company Freshworks Inc.
Artificial intelligence moves beyond the hype: Next year, we’ll see artificial intelligence (AI) move beyond the hype cycle and put IT efficiency into overdrive.
AI is still going through a hype cycle like any other new technology. People are beginning to better understand what AI looks like, and in 2024, we’ll move beyond the hype to more valid use cases.
One result is that CIOs will need to show that they’re not using AI for AI’s sake. As IT pros embrace AI to automate workflows and boost efficiency, CIOs need to focus on arming their teams with the AI tools that better their businesses and optimize IT workflows across teams.
READ MORE: The Highest Paying AI Jobs for 2024
Kevin Day, CTO at Rhapsody, a Healthcare Interoperability Company
Cybersecurity: Many organizations have been fully remote or could be fully remote since the onset of the pandemic. There are persistent attacks that assume companies are operating 100% remotely and are letting their guards down.
End users are the weak link in the chain; e.g., attacks through email phishing are still highly effective, and CIOs who are not continuously monitoring new cybersecurity threats, uplifting their security postures, and training/simulating threats will suffer costly attacks.
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Jeremy Rafuse, VP and Head of Digital Workplace at Software Company GoTo
Creating a culture of upskilling: It’s no secret that in today’s hybrid workforce, technology is critical to the employee experience and, therefore, business outcomes.
But an often-overlooked part of this equation is equipping employees with the foundational knowledge and support they need to succeed.
One of my key priorities for 2024 will be training and educating employees on using new technologies, such as generative AI, in their day-to-day roles.
For AI implementation to be successful, IT teams must create a culture of digital literacy and understanding. If employees lack this knowledge base, they won’t reap the many benefits AI offers, and they may even put company data at risk through unintentional misuse.
Digital home office improvements: We’re also focusing on various enhancements to enable our flexible, remote-centric workplace. A critical component of improving the work-from-home experience will be rolling out improved guides and training around home networking and security best practices.
We’re also looking to revamp our onboarding processes to maximize employee impact. These updates and improvements will contribute to a more self-sufficient and functional virtual working environment for employees while reducing the workload on IT teams.
Doug King, CIO at IT Consulting Firm ePlus
AI hones in on the use case: There’s no question that AI is already transforming business as we know it. But 2024 is the year that AI goes beyond theory and into actual use cases. That starts with focusing less on how quickly companies can implement AI technology and more on what the value of that implementation can bring if deployed successfully.
First, IT leaders should take a step back to identify the emerging use cases where AI can be deployed to create business value within their organizations and the associated return on investment. This will enable the development of a more comprehensive AI roadmap that includes business outcomes, targeted tangible results, and an implementation path.
Enterprise shifts: In the past year, emerging technologies, such as AI, have infiltrated the workforce at an unprecedented rate. Simultaneously, organizations are still adapting to hybrid work, with further technology changes and challenges. CIOs’ agendas for 2024 are rooted in these enterprise shifts. Some of the top priorities are:
- Maximizing business agility: Due to the increase in remote work and the current economy, many organizations are making changes to office locations, often downsizing to account for smaller in-office teams. For many CIOs, this means ensuring that those who need access to sensitive information get access without impacting the user experience while keeping it safe from outside threats.
- Strategically leveraging AI adoption: The CIO’s priority is to ensure that AI is leveraged in the most secure yet effective way possible. AI is a fragmented market, with several tools and vendors looking to capitalize on the hype. CIOs must identify their risk tolerance when determining AI adoption; once that is complete, they must evaluate aspects like functionality, accuracy, and how it fits into the overall product architecture.
- C-suite collaboration: It’s no secret that the CIO has become a business enabler, communicating across all functions. In 2024, CIOs will collaborate even more with the C-suite, specifically the CISO, CHRO, and Legal, as AI adoption grows and new projects are rolled out across the enterprise.
Kevin Beasley, CIO at VAI, Provider of Enterprise Resource Planning Software
Greater adaptability: This will be required more than ever since the expanding responsibilities of the CIO role require leadership qualities that go beyond technology and take precedence over other skill sets. CIOs are expected to be business savvy and be part of the top of each enterprise’s leadership team.
Risk management, with cybersecurity at the forefront and ongoing tech know-how, will also be priorities in 2024. And as always, maximizing ROI through technology investment remains a core function within the business model.
Amanda Fennell, CISO and CIO at Prove Identity, an Identity Verification and Authentication Platform
A seat at the planning table: To address their technology needs in the year ahead, enterprises should be giving IT a seat at the planning table. Organizations can deliver more value throughout the entire enterprise by involving IT as they understand each department’s main objectives and goals, the tools they currently use, available additional tools, primary processes, and best practices. IT departments must evolve to become a strategic lever that [business leaders] can pull to overcome business process challenges and create operational efficiencies through technology and automation.
For example, at Prove, we’re focusing on this in-house by:
- Creating capacity for our team by optimizing our delivery of IT support through operational efficiency and automation, self-service, and introducing an Intelligent virtual assistant to chaperone the experience.
- Analyzing our full tech stack, looking to reduce duplicative tools, establishing use cases and best practices, and ensuring all applications meet IT and security standards.
- Developing new skills and leveling up of our current team members to aid in our evolution and to be prepared to fill new roles and responsibilities. We’re also automating as much IT support as possible.
Michael Ringman, CIO at TELUS International, Digital Customer Experience Solutions
Developing GenAI platforms and solutions: In late 2022 and to date in 2023, we have seen an exponential rise in use cases for AI due to the emergence and broad accessibility of GenAI, which has acted as a powerful catalyst for creativity in the digital age.
This will no doubt continue to gain momentum in 2024. As a result, a large part of my focus will remain on developing our company’s proprietary GenAI platforms and solutions — uncovering more ways to leverage the technology to drive positive outcomes for our clients, such as designing, building, and delivering more personalized customer experiences.
And for our employees and operations, including our recruitment practices, learning and development curriculum delivery, and driving efficiencies.
I will also continue to assess and establish new strategic technology partners with GenAI or AI-adjacent firms to amplify the benefits our company can offer.
Managing cloud and hybrid cloud environments: This will continue to be a focus area in 2024. As we have seen, cloud technologies play a critical role in enabling digital interactions, especially within organizations.
Tapping into the transformative capabilities of cloud technologies can directly and positively impact business operations and outcomes. For example, an organization with global locations can leverage the cloud for greater flexibility, scalability, and implementation of streamlined operations for all employees.
Organizations can’t succeed in today’s digital era without strong technology platforms, and IT leaders have a unique opportunity to become business drivers.
Of course, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay attention to the traditional needs of their companies, including meeting the requirements of the business, ensuring IT stability, and dealing with the risks and costs involved in delivering IT services.
But that’s no longer enough. To succeed and drive the business forward, IT leaders must now adapt and use technology to streamline operations, develop new business models, and propel growth.