The 8 Biggest Challenges Keeping CIOs Up At Night

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Blog | Feb 22, 2017

The 8 Biggest Challenges Keeping CIOs Up At Night

According to Oracle CEO, Mark Hurd, the toughest job in corporate America is Chief Information Officer.  Oracle CIO, Mark Sunday, adds one important caveat:  CIOs, in part because of the mammoth new challenges they face, also have a tremendous opportunity to transform the businesses for whom they work:

“This is the most challenging time in history to be a CIO, because in order to survive, organizations need to embrace new technologies at an unparalleled pace. But by the same token, CIOs have never had a better opportunity to add value to their organizations—if they embrace the challenge.”

Challenges Keeping CIOs Up At Night

What Do CIOs Have to Say?

To find out what’s of greatest concern to CIOs, the Society for Information Management (SIM), decided to go to the source.  Here are the 8 challenges CIOs cite most often among the many that keep them up at night:

1. Aligning technology and business priorities CEOs and department managers are often mesmerized by the latest gadget, the sparkling object that they’re convinced will add new life to their business.  CIOs must evaluate the value of those technology acquisitions, answering fundamental questions about the extent to which they actually add to the bottom line or improve business process.  This represents a substantial expansion of the CIO’s business role, but also offers him the opportunity to increase the value of his position and the contribution he makes.

2. Maintaining data security and privacy this is nothing new for CIOs, but emerging technologies have created new threats and new hacking opportunities.  Transactions are increasingly digital, and transaction processing is increasingly global and pervasive.  This requires new software acquisitions, something financial officers are typically loath to approve.Challenges Keeping CIOs Up At Night

3. Doing more, and doing it faster:  whatever new applications or hardware business end users
 want, they always seem to want it yesterday.  Familiar complaints, from “when are we getting our new laptops,” to “how could it possibly take so long to install an ERP system,” are the bane of every CIO at one point or another.  Increasingly, CIOs will identify effective cloud-based and SaaS solutions to shorten delivery time, but that also represents a new responsibility, and a new accountability.

4. Leading innovation efforts:  innovation is important to businesses, large and small, and increasingly CIOs are expected to lead the charge.  Unfortunately, most innovation efforts fail, and
 CIOs, who typically don’t have the time or money to make innovation efforts work, end up on the hot seat.

5. Increasing productivity and efficiency:  as with innovation, this is an area in which most CIOs
have little if any expertise, but that doesn’t stop companies from asking them to make businesses more productive.

Challenges Keeping CIOs Up At Night6. Acquiring talent:  according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hiring of IT professionals will
grow by 15%
, or 383,600 jobs, by 2020.  That represents a lot of job applications, and interviews, and hiring decisions for a lot of highly specialized jobs.  HR managers don’t have the technical expertise to make those decisions alone, which means CIOs must step into the breach to ensure strong hires.


7. Confronting downtime according to Data Center Journal, downtime costs businesses a lot, both financially and in terms of productivity, and the costs are increasing every year.  On average, the cost for one minute of downtime is $7,900.  With an average outage time of 86 minutes, that's almost $700,000 per downtime episode. Those costs place a huge onus on CIOs to prevent downtime events and move recovery efforts quickly and efficiently.

8. Outsourcing functions to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) MSPs deliver valuable outsourced services for businesses, but deciding which services to outsource and which responsibilities to delegate takes time and strategic thinking.  That job, like so many others, increasingly lands on the shoulders of already overworked CIOs.



The pervasiveness of emerging technologies and software solutions as central to business success has expanded the role of CIOs and IT professionals, who are increasingly at the forefront of key business decision-making.  That means the challenges they face have increased, but also that those willing to embrace those challenges have a unique opportunity to make transformative contributions and add value to the businesses they serve.

TriCore Solutions is ready to help your organization embrace these challenge challenages and unlock the business value from your IT investments. Contact us to learn more.

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