IT automation and the role of the CIO

Trends such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are set to hugely increase the amount of data that businesses have to manage. Updating IT infrastructure to cope with all this data will be essential, but for CIOs, simply updating won’t be enough. Instead, they will need to step up and work with their IT departments to analyse and extract value from the data available. By doing this they will ensure that their business is in the best possible position to compete and succeed against the competition.

Due to these large volumes of data, automated processes need to be integrated to cost-effectively analyse and extract value. Purely collating huge amounts of data is useless for a business if there is no structure in place to analyse it and produce valuable insights. Therefore, if IT departments are to remain relevant and efficient, it is incredibly important that they utilise automation throughout their organisation to deliver value.

Equally, employees’ perceptions of IT and its role are changing – something which could potentially prove problematic for the CIO. How do you keep up with the high expectations being set by the consumer world dictating employees’ experiences? Indeed, the consumerisation of IT has meant that IT departments’ own services are now being compared against other external suppliers. If IT departments do not embrace automation, they could find themselves heavily criticised by others and using systems that are negatively impacting staff satisfaction levels.

At the same time, we are seeing a shift in the CIO’s responsibilities – moving away from the maintenance of infrastructure and devices, to being primarily concerned with the management of data, innovation and value creation. This means that CIOs need to flip their focus from IT efficiency, to focusing on value creation. For the smart CIO, automation offers an opportunity to elevate their position at the C-suite level, using their data to provide key insights that will drive business goals, and unearth new insight opportunities to provide a competitive market advantage.

In light of this, CIOs must learn to manage the increasing amount of data available to them and implement systems and architectures that can extract key insights and communicate this across the organisation. While we are used to seeing the CIO spending time running the IT shop, the best ones will be spending less time on this, and more time engaging the senior leadership team on the valuable insight gained through data analysis.