Intelligent CIO Africa Issue 72 | Page 26



It ’ s a challenging time for CIOs and IT leaders helping build businesses back better , with some of their biggest challenges being finding the workers , skills and budget to deal with the workload .

Suffice to say , the prediction business has been a tough one over the last three years . Indiscretion and uncertainty have ruled , leaving many enterprise and SME firms and their workers on unsure footing . Consequently , many organisations side-lined their broader strategic initiatives and goals to stay afloat . They remained in defensive mode to ensure certain basic outcomes : Keep the lights on , pay your people , hold onto your customers , and , at minimum , maintain status quo revenue intake . Bide your time , in other words .
Now , there are encouraging signs for organisations operating the Middle East and Africa ( MEA ) that point upward and onward as the IT market heads into 2023 . Industry pundits highlight some key trends that will shape the year ahead .
According to analyst and research firm Gartner , in the 2023 CIO and Technology Executive Survey , cybersecurity ranked as the highest priority for where enterprises will be spending the largest amount of new or additional funding in 2023 compared with 2022 . Gartner noted that the need to increase funding is clear : the number and severity of cyberattacks continue to increase , with bigger impacts on the business . This is followed by Business Intelligence which ranked second and Cloud platform which ranked third .
Eyad Tachwali , Senior Director , Advisory , Gartner , said CEOs want top- and bottom-line financial impact , and they expect digital technology initiatives to deliver it sooner rather than later , especially amid today ’ s economic turbulence . Tachwali said CIOs can take bold , unconventional actions to help the whole enterprise achieve its financial goals .
“ First , CIOs must identify the type of financial impact that the CEO and CFO want and prioritise digital initiatives that support it ( and pause or stop other initiatives ).
Second , they should create a visual metrics hierarchy to raise visibility of business performance . For example , CIOs should work with business leaders to identify what ‘ improvement ’ in their respective functional areas means . They can then understand how the associated business outcomes are and should be measured . Metrics across related business initiatives can be mapped to clearly show interdependencies .
“ Third , they should contribute key IT talent to business leaders ’ teams to catalyse a fusion team which combines business experts , business technologists and IT staff that work in an agile manner . This will enable acceleration of prioritised digital business initiatives .
“ Fourth , they should engage talent from unconventional sources to progress internal , lower-priority projects that have an indirect impact on financials . These could include students / interns , gig workers , start-ups , collaboration with academia , public / private partnerships to share capabilities ,” he said .
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