CIOs: Don’t sit on the fence – steer through the change

CIOs: Don’t sit on the fence – steer through the change

CIOs are going to need to get all their data out of their systems of intelligence and into their systems of record to ensure their business is not only data-rich but insights-driven, says Nigel Nisbett, Director of Professional Services for Asia-Pacific Japan, Boomi.

Roles in the workplace have evolved, and they continue to evolve fast.

Under the widespread adoption of AI technologies, menial and routine tasks previously performed by humans are now handled by machines.

With AI and automation acting as ‘behind the scenes’ sidekicks, plenty of workers are feeling the benefits of getting time back to focus on more strategic work.

Meanwhile, some are capitalising on opportunities to reskill into more advanced roles.  

By 2025, the World Economic Forum predicts 85 million jobs will be lost to automation.

But at the same time, it is expected 97 million jobs will be created in fields such as AI and data science.

Meanwhile, IDC expects to see Asia Pacific technology leaders allocating half of R&D, staffing and CAPEX investments to AI and automation by 2026.

This makes the role and leadership of the CIO crucial.

CIO positions have undergone a significant transformation over the past few years. From “keeping the lights on” to “business model improvement,” the pandemic saw the primary objective of CIOs shift from basic IT maintenance to Driving competitive advantage.

We thought we’d seen it all – then came the promise of AI.

Today, CIOs are being tasked to transform their technical workforce and invest in AI technologies, while running their respective businesses and ensuring the technologies they already manage nurture the organisation and provide return on investment.

It’s big work – and that work can’t be done by sitting on the fence trying to balance “change the business versus run the business.”

The ability to harness, analyse and act on data is what will continue to set businesses apart in this competitive era.

CIOs are going to need to get all their data out of their “systems of intelligence” and into their “systems of record” to ensure the business is not only “data-rich” but “insights-driven”.

This is where integration is crucial.

The average enterprise has about 850 apps, yet less than 30% of them actually talk to each other.

When systems are separated, data is disconnected. This means critical information lives siloed or completely hidden – a poor data practice that sets a poor precedent to leverage the power of AI.

So, integration isn’t just about connecting systems and processes; it’s about integrating entire business ecosystems – from internal operations to external partnerships and customer interfaces – to gain visibility and agility.

It means users gain a comprehensive and accurate view to extract maximum value from their business and deliver to their customers.

And with data inextricably tied together and made accessible, a company can better lean on AI and automation to create intelligent workflows, which optimise resources, reduce errors and free valuable time for strategic tasks.

In essence, data is too valuable to be a dusty asset in siloed databases – it should be the lifeblood of every organisation.

This will enable CIOs to better balance the big challenge of running a business efficiently while simultaneously driving change and innovation in a world mesmerised by AI.

A local government, for example, can use AI sensors to provide consumer-facing data on beach-goer numbers, parking availability and surf conditions, all within a simple app to improve and enhance citizen experience.

A data-driven manufacturer, meanwhile, can use real-time sensor data and AI-powered predictive analytics to optimise production lines, minimise waste and maximise efficiency – this degree of connectivity is the only way forward for APAC businesses.

Although most companies are only comfortable leveraging AI for modest yet impactful improvements in efficiency and experience, it’s anticipated that within the next five years, human software decisions will become increasingly automated.

While more than 80% of business executives are accelerating plans to digitise work processes, another 50% of employers are expecting to accelerate the automation of some roles in their companies, per the aforementioned World Economic Forum report.

As these systems evolve and gain sophistication, we can expect to see AI encourage a higher level of abstraction in our professional roles – human judgment will remain crucial but be reserved for more intricate decision-making processes.

It’s a challenging time of change for CIOs.

Simultaneously, world events are influencing markets and industries on a global scale. These factors are having a real impact on supply chain conditions and the acquisition of raw materials and goods – businesses motivated to weather the storm are counting on the promises of AI to make more informed decisions and adapt quickly to evolving conditions.

This is why putting in the data leg work will pay off in the long run.

With Asia Pacific expected to account for 60% of global GDP growth in 2024 – higher than the pre-pandemic average – the year ahead presents both formidable challenges and unparalleled opportunities for the region’s CIOs.

Don’t just sit on the fence continuing to balance legacy and future state – in this time of change, there’s an imperative to innovate, integrate and automate in order to grow.

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