CloudNews & Analysis

CIOs Struggling to Unlock Data to Drive Business Strategy

Study shows that CIOs need to build an agile and adaptable infrastructure that can shift according to customer needs.


Customer experience, innovation and operational efficiencies are the top three things that CIOs are looking for, according to a new study. But there are some unwanted hindrances on the way which they need to overcome.

The findings from the recent 2021 Global CIO Survey commissioned by Logicalis shows that while data provides a tremendous opportunity for businesses, but legacy systems and processes have created information silos, which organizations need to unlock to enable insights and innovation.

According to the study covering 1,000 CIOs from around the world, though 98% of CIOs report that the pandemic accelerated their organization’s digital transformation plans, over 75% fail to unlock their data to drive a successful digital transformation. In other words, although organizations are pushing to accelerate their digital transformation plans, three quarters of respondents admit their organization is struggling to unlock data to drive a successful digital transformation strategy.

Building on this, the survey results reveal that less than half of respondents (48%) use data to increase speed and agility in their operations, and only a quarter of respondents use data to drive overall business strategy.

The most popular area for digital transformation was IT, with 81% of organisations reporting accelerated activities in this department, demonstrating the importance of IT in building infrastructure that can support more agile, innovative operations across businesses. The next most popular areas for digital transformation activities were operations and customer service, all of which benefit from data-led business strategy.

“Data driven organisations gain a critical competitive advantage, equipping leaders with key insights to drive informed decisions and create unparalleled business agility,” says Toby Alcock, CTO of Logicalis comments.

According to him, after 18 months of disruption and rapid transformation, organizational leaders need to reassess business operations to define a more flexible, adaptive, and scalable environment for businesses, partners and customers.

“By focusing on data as the central tenet of the digital transformation business can directly attribute these solutions to positive changes to top-line revenue or bottom-line outcomes,” he adds.

The CIO Survey also finds that 81% of CIOs agree that redefining the customer experience will become more relevant in the next five years. Before the pandemic, only half of CIOs surveyed said they were increasing their time spent on innovation. Now, this has increased to 79%, as CIOs are committed to developing innovative solutions that meet the needs of their customers.

These findings reflect on the colossal impact of the pandemic on digital transformation and increased customer experience. According to PwC’s Global Digital Pulse survey, more than 50% of global consumers have become digital in the last year. These findings are corroborated in a similar Gartner report, which reveal that 80% of all B2B sales interactions now take place online.

As a result, neglecting the digital space is no longer an option. Digital transformation is a necessity for continued business development and growth. Indeed, 98% of all CIOs surveyed said that the pandemic had accelerated their digital transformation plans. The recent shift in customer experience means CIOs must work with infrastructure to create data-driven customer engagements.

These studies clearly indicate that prioritizing the customer is a necessity for the CIO to grow and for businesses to stay relevant in an ever-changing market.

Strong customer relationships have become a critical business priority especially in the post-pandemic world that requires creating online experiences for customers as sophisticated as in-person. For CIOs, this has meant rethinking their business strategies.

As Mark Benson, CTO, Logicalis UKI believes that to stay abreast of customer expectations, and compete with competitors, CIOs need to build an agile and adaptable infrastructure that can shift according to customer needs.

To conclude, CIOs need to move away from day-to-day management and toward becoming strategic business leaders. They need to work closely with their customer base as well as the C-suite to determine how to develop platforms that mitigate their concerns.

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