Chief Information Officers (CIOs) play a vital role not only in a company’s technology operations, but also in its growth and overall success. A business’s information technology should stimulate its growth, and the CIO is the chief person responsible for making that happen.
One of the most important parts of a CIO’s role is understanding the newest technologies and trends and the impact they will have on the business world. When evaluating ways to improve their IT infrastructure, it is important for companies to understand the different solutions that are available to them.
With that in mind, we interviewed our Client CIOs and other business IT experts for their thoughts on the top seven areas CIOs should be focused on in 2015. Here are some of the key areas of focus according to our experts:
1. Information Security
“Security should be a focus considering the growing number of recent breaches, exploits, and compliance requirements,” says Dan Carpenter, President of IT Services at Miles Technologies. “This should include an analysis of the hardware/systems in place and risk assessments performed by a third party.”
2. Compliance and Security
Implementing and maintaining secured IT infrastructures is absolutely a best business practice. For many businesses, achieving a specified level of security is required to maintain industry compliance. “Many businesses must comply with private, federal, or state regulations such as SOX, PCI DSS, or HIPAA in order to properly secure financial or patient data,” says Brian Dappolone, Client CIO at Miles Technologies. “An independent risk analysis and vulnerability report will identify security gaps, and provide recommendations to reduce or eliminate risk.”
3. Reducing Technology Footprint
An increasing number of options exist for businesses looking to grow while maintaining—or perhaps even reducing—the physical size of their IT infrastructures. “Reducing your technology footprint will be a continued effort,” says Carpenter. “Cloud and virtualization technologies should be re-evaluated to determine what is right for the business.”
4. Backing Up Data
“The importance of backing up company data is paramount to business operations,” says Dappolone. “Businesses should concentrate on a robust backup system as well as determine their Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Period Objective (RPO).”
5. Business Software that Scales and Improves Collaboration
“Considering the future economic outlook, many businesses may be experiencing growth in the coming years,” says Carpenter. “It is important to implement software that can scale with your business. The software should also provide simple methods for collaboration among staff, especially for the remote and mobile workforce.”
6. Wireless Technologies
“As more devices become wireless and new technologies emerge, the demands on existing wireless networks will grow,” says Carpenter. “2015 may be the time for an analysis of your wireless environment.”
7. Budgeting and Planning
Last, but certainly not least, is the area of budgeting and planning, a chief concern for all CIOs. “When fine tuning your IT budget, it is important to accurately forecast actual costs that you will ultimately present to management,” says Jon McKinley, Client CIO at Miles Technologies. “CIOs need to work with management to plan for expansion of operations or reduction in operations so that IT resources can be allocated appropriately.”
“It can be difficult to budget for the items that you may need in the coming year, and even more challenging to allocate funds for items you aren’t aware of,” says Dappolone. “Expenditures for these items should be determined by using trends over the past few years. This will add more accuracy in your estimates.”
Have any further thoughts on these areas of focus? What are some areas that you would include on this list? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.