A Brave New Year: 5 Major CIO Challenges in 2023

Recession-driven economic volatility, tense geopolitical dynamics, and supply crises are driving key issues at the heart of the IT mandate in 2023. Organizational adaptability is more important than ever, and it is on CIOs to identify business challenges, drivers, and provide the solutions to adapt and overcome.

Here are 5 of the leading priorities and challenges CIOs will grapple with in 2023 – and strategies to address them.

1.Position For Economic Recovery With Long-Term Planning

As the GDP forecast slows to 0.5%, traditional recession wisdom is to batten down the hatches and weather the storm. But the economic downturn is also a major opportunity to set long-term strategic goals, rebalance investments, and assume the best position for the upswing.

Choosing pause vs. play on efforts like project evaluations, tightening contract practices, and application portfolio rationalization can help companies do more with less and adopt a more cost-sensitive approach to operations. Not only that, your savings can be funnelled into innovation and technology investments, enhancing your capacity for growth in time for economic recovery.

Thorough strategic planning will help determine the precise cost-cutting measures needed for operational agility. CIOs must translate strategic vision into operational action and prevent indiscriminate cuts from damaging processes.

2.Map And Consolidate Extended Supply Chains

Ongoing geopolitical crises have shaken global supply chains. Surveys paint a grim picture for supply chain integrity, with 76% of supply chain executives experiencing more disruption than 3 years ago. Factors contributing to the disruption include:

• Continued labor and talent shortages

• General cost increases

• Rising data compliance and resilience regulations

• Disrupted logistics

It is critical for businesses to consolidate their supply chains and assume control of their back-end processes. Forgotten sectors can leave enterprises operationally exposed to creeping technical debt as inefficient solutions become entrenched. Actions include:

Improving supply chain vision. A Coeus survey revealed 26% of respondents reported poor organizational knowledge of IT service delivery locations and emergent vulnerabilities, highlighting a common gap in supply chain oversight.

Targeted investments – like automated systems to streamline run tasks and staff re-skilling to offset labor shortages – mitigate risks to operational effectiveness.

Reviewing contracts and SLAs establishes a comprehensive view of engaged vendors and ensures contract terms are adhered to.

Digitalizing cost-cutting measures modernize legacy infrastructure, remediate stagnant solutions, and prepare infrastructure for the upswing, when agile supply-side responses become crucial.

3.Review cybersecurity architectures

Cybersecurity is a key driver pushing CIO investments in 2023 as increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks continue to proliferate. The evolution of several cybersecurity threats is set to dominate the CIO-CISO agenda:

• Widespread reliance on IoT networks broadens attack surfaces

• Phishing and credential theft threats

• Perimeter probing to exploit the explosion in endpoints

• The continued popularity of ransomware and double extortion

• Third-party infiltration attacks via vendors along supply chains

CIOs and CISOs can employ a variety of technologies and strategies to fortify their security architectures, mitigate risks, and ward off cyber attacks:

Integrated, Zero Trust-based network solutions like Secure Access Security Edge (SASE) maintain constant authentication pressure, enforce user and application policies, and extend control over devices to accelerate threat detection

AD-IAM synergies simplify authentication processes by linking user data to the Active Directory, providing real-time updates to changing permissions

Consolidating security roles with a Chief Security Officer (CSO) position, concentrating authority to accelerate policy change and crisis response times

Standardizing older security systems like MFA software to simplify monitoring, access, and updates

4.Take the lead with sustainable IT

A greater understanding of climate change, sustainability strategies, and socio-political pressure has brought IT sustainability to the fore. Public groups and stakeholders will expect tech leaders to reduce organizational energy consumption.

CIOs can kickstart sustainability efforts with maturity assessments to determine their carbon footprint and scope emissions. Long-term sustainability technology plans based on assessment findings subsequently establish a custom digital sustainability journey, enabling the formulation of measurable and attainable carbon reduction targets.

Vendors providing non-core storage and computation competencies can eliminate CAPEX and OPEX costs by shifting the heavy lifting to specialists. Specialized providers like AWS and Google enable businesses to scale with minimal energy consumption and on-prem inefficiencies.

5.Secure and optimize cloud footholds 

Cloud spending will rise by 20.7% this year as businesses look to the cloud to modernize infrastructure, minimize CAPEX costs, outsource critical services, and provide processes with the agility to evolve up and down with demand.

IT teams should focus on optimizing existing cloud operations. Application rationalization and FinOps can help control cloud sprawl, eliminate technical debt, and prevent spiraling costs from negating improved cloud performance.

CIOs can drive cloud enterprise maturity with a more comprehensive approach to optimization across three areas:

Commercial measures scrutinize CSP agreements to maximize value and secure enterprise discounts

Technical measures gear the SDLC for cloud-native design, ensuring re-factor and re-architect efforts prioritize apps compatible with target cloud infrastructures

Provider measures focus on rigorous CSP selection, efficient solution portfolios, and standardizing metrics for data capture, analytics, and process optimization

Integrating cloud operations with the broader business is also crucial to foster consistent stakeholder support, long-term internal investment, and a culture of cloud-led business enablement.

It’s a turbulent year for CIOs with threats and crises on multiple fronts. It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the trials ahead. Consult expert advisory for help adapting to this brave new year of IT challenges.

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