5 Reasons for CIO to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving

Six years ago, I wrote a fun post on A CIO 's Top Ten Guide to Preparing a Thanksgiving Feast, where I shared some whimsical advice from building a firewall to outsourcing what you cannot do well. I've wanted to follow up on a new Thanksgiving-themed post since then but for one reason or another never came through with one.

So this week's post shares the real meaning behind Thanksgiving. Looking through some of this year's surveys and research I found five results that support many of the efforts top CIOs champion in their organization from agile, to devops, to change management. I hope you like.

And thanks to everyone who reads this blog, subscribes to the Driving Digital Newsletter, likes my book Driving Digital, learns StarCIO Agile Planning, or works with StarCIO on workshops and transformation. Happy Thanksgiving!

1. Drive Digital Maturity with Agile, Cross-functional Teams

Hopefully, you are leading your team to go beyond scrum basics and establish agile planning practices or innovate with POCs. Many CIOs invest in agile practices to improve project delivery, but the longer-term business benefits are when these teams can deliver on innovation, culture change, and digital transformation.

Recent research from MIT SMR and Deloitte on Accelerating Digital Innovation show that CIOs driving agile should see these benefits. For example, 73% of the survey's respondents from digitally mature organizations state that their senior leadership effectively creates an environment in which cross-functional teams can succeed versus 29% of those that are early in their digital maturity. The report also shows that organizations that are higher in digital maturity are more likely to dedicate more than 10% of people's work toward innovation and experimentation. That's a big deal because we know that innovation and experimentation drive growth and are also factors in hiring and retaining great talent.

I firmly believe that digital maturity and innovation are directly correlated to agility so CIO should continue to develop their organization's agile practices.

But the key is that this isn't about scaling agile practices across the organizations, but more about establishing guiding principles such as agile continuous planning and establishing devops and architecture standards.

2. IT Budgets are Increasing

From the 2019 Harvey Nash / KPMG CIO Survey, 55% of CIO respondents report budget increases, the highest its been since the survey started in 2005.

That's critical because as CIOs are introducing new platforms and infrastructure to support digital transformation, innovation, cloud migrations, and other efforts, it's likely that they cannot sunset legacy systems or address technical debt fast enough. CIOs struggling in this area should consider steps to capture and manage technical debt.

3. Want AI? Fix the Company Culture and Data

From O'Reilly's AI Adoption in the Enterprise, the top two bottlenecks holding back the adoption of AI in enterprises is company culture (23% of respondents) and data quality issues (19%).

So when the CEO and business leaders want to embrace AI, the CIO can use this as a catalyst to address two major impediments CIO face when trying to lead their organizations to be more data-driven and leverage analytics: company culture, data quality, and data governance.

4. DevOps Investments are Paying Off Big Time

According to the Accelerate 2019 DevOps Report, more CIOs are seeing significant benefits in their DevOps investments. Elite performers are performing 208 times more deployments and the lead time to deploy is 106 times faster compared to low performers. And it's not just development teams that benefit; operational teams can recover from incidents 2604 times faster and their change failure rate is 7 times lower.

Think this isn't achievable? Well, in 2018 only 7% of respondents were identified as elite performers and in 2019 this number grew to 20%.

But you don't need to be an elite performer to see benefits and many organizations can start DevOps by prioritizing efforts in the right areas.

5. Technology Change Management is now a Top Business Issue

According to the Wipro 2019 Digital Transformation Survey 21% of global executives (technology and non-tech) say that their top technology barrier is, "We can't train our lines of business to change/use our new technology, methods or processes."

Acknowledging that change management is the greatest hurdle to business transformation is a big step. It used to be that CIO had to fend for themselves when trying to institute process change, new technology, or applied governance. Now it's a business leadership issue and for some companies, an important consideration to avoid digital disruption.

I hope you learned and enjoyed! Happy Thanksgiving!

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld, CIO.com, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.