Recently, there has been some buzz around CIOs and their transforming role and influence in business strategy formation. While some companies are still lagging behind, others are benefitting by utilizing the knowledge and expertise of their CIOs. According to a survey by McKinsey and Company, overall performance increases when organizations involve IT leaders in business strategy.
IT leaders are accustomed to answering questions about technology. However, the evolving role is now often expected to answer new, more strategic questions. What are some of the most common strategic questions that organizations are asking their CIOs?

How can technology help engage our employees?

One of the biggest problems facing company executive teams today is engaging employees. The latest Gallup poll stated that globally, only 13 percent of employees are engaged. Another survey found that an alarming 88 percent are not passionate about their work.
Many organizations have initiated employee engagement strategies and have enlisted CIOs to help. They are asking questions about how wireless presentation software, mobile devices, collaboration tools, smartwatches, and other technology can be used to increase engagement.

How can we improve our business performance?

The era of big data and analytics has allowed companies to more easily track information about their business processes and worker productivity. Technology is often used to collect this data, so some leaders are asking CIOs to help interpret it.
Also, as a result, companies are implementing tech-driven programs to help increase efficiency and optimize revenue. They want to know what types of software and devices are going to be the most cost-effective, agile, and successful.

How can we learn more about our customersā”and our competition?

Companies are looking at CIOs to take a more active role in the customer experience. They are increasingly using data and technology to learn more about their customers and their competitors.
The most influential and effective CIOs will be at the forefront of these efforts. In some organizations, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and the CIO are partnering together to make more informed, data-based decisions about customer outreach and retention.
Lastly, the role of IT is becoming more prominent as the boundaries between the digital and brick-and-mortar business are breaking down. The knowledge and consultation of IT leaders is essential for many organizations that are launching or revamping their digital strategy.
As the importance of technology in business continues to grow, more companies are asking IT leaders tough strategic questions. CIOs that take an active role in strategic decision-making could help business and IT performance. Organizations that involve the CIO in these decisions are more likely to reap the benefits, while those that do not could fall behind their competition.