Main image of article CIO Top Priorities for 2020: Use Them to Boost Your Career

Did you know that helping the CIO achieve their goals not only benefits the entire team and the organization, it can also help buoy the careers of individual contributors, team leads and line managers?

What’s more, understanding the overall mission (and the role of technology in boosting organizational performance) can help job-seekers demonstrate alignment with those corporate objectives during an interview.

To give you the insights you need to succeed, here’s a guide to the typical CIO’s biggest and most pressing goals for 2020… and some ways you can support their efforts.

Transition IT from Service Provider to Value Creator

CIOs are still tasked with driving operational efficiencies and reliability, but in addition, they are increasingly expected to contribute to the top and bottom lines of the organization, according to Khalid Kark, managing director of the U.S. CIO program for Deloitte LLP.

As a result, many CIOs have embraced new priorities for 2020, such as fostering innovation and the development of new products and services, and they are transforming the ecosystem and taking on a bigger scope of activities to achieve those goals.

“To ensure that the tech function is able to deliver value across the organization, eight out of 10 CIOs plan to change or adjust their operating models in the next three years,” Kark said.

For instance, the role of the business relationship manager has become less and less important, Kark added. Going forward, individual contributors will be expected to interact directly with customers.

CIOs are also embracing other key elements of startups, such as Agile, iterative development methods. On the technology front, they continue to move towards incremental delivery.

If you’re a technologist who wants to become known as a “value creator” within the organization, seize opportunities outside of IT, Kark said.

Modernize Governance Practices (and More)

Like many CIOs, Jonathan Feldman is focused on modernizing all aspects of IT, including governance practices, as well as improving security. But he can’t do achieve those lofty goals alone.

“It’s something that everyone can participate in,” explained Feldman, CIO for the city of Asheville, N.C.

For instance, project managers can play a role in modernizing governance by using portfolio rationalization to manage a portfolio of projects or applications. Following the Domino’s ruling, developers can help by making websites, mobile apps and technology more accessible to people with disabilities or who don’t speak English. For sysadmins and others who might not poke around code on a daily basis, that might mean learning a programming language and making more of your traditional duties increasingly “code-driven.”

Even organizations that are achieving IT-business alignment need to continue to evolve how they deliver software, develop new apps, migrate to SaaS or move backup data for long-term storage to the cloud, Feldman pointed out. There’s always an opportunity to contribute to modernization efforts and elevate your career and market appeal in the process.

Unlock the Value of Data Across the Enterprise

In 2020, CIOs and their teams will be expected to work closely with business leaders to help transform the organization into an intelligent enterprise. IT is certainly well-poised to act as advisors or even overseers in terms of data collection, security, privacy and governance, and the successful execution of endeavors to unlock and harness the power of data and convert it into insights that drive intelligent decision making and business outcomes.

Empower Business Transformation and Growth

Like many executives, Michael Skaff’s main goal for 2020 is to drive business transformation and growth. Specifically, Skaff, who was promoted from CIO to COO of the Jewish Senior Living Group in 2018, will help facilitate a $140-million expansion project by applying many of the best practices, disciplines and fundamentals he learned in IT.

Executives have expanded their scope and focus from digital transformation to business evolution, which involves fundamentally changing the systems, processes, people and technology across the entire organization, Skaff explained.  Technologists can play an integral role in this process by applying problem-solving capabilities, elements of design thinking and Six Sigma methodology across more (and potentially larger) projects across the enterprise.

“To move beyond digital transformation, you can’t just focus on what we’re doing and how we intend to do it, but why we’re doing it,” Skaff said. In fact, understanding why technology is needed, and ensuring that the entire organization is focused on "solving the right problem,” is the best way to improve adoption rates (and your career).

“There are more opportunities for IT to be involved in business than ever before,” Skaff said. “Don’t squander the opportunity to be a catalyst for change.”