Challenges That CIOs Face In The Upcoming Year

Being a CIO is even harder to do right now
Being a CIO is even harder to do right now
Image Credit: Greg on the Run

There is a certain thrill that runs through all of us when we assumed the CIO position. Finally, we are going to be in a position of power from which we can make the changes that we’ve always known needed to happen in order to maximize the importance of information technology. However, as is the case with all jobs, very quickly we start to understand that having the CIO job comes with its own set of unique challenges. These challenges just seem to be getting larger and larger and right now, CIOs are facing a mountain of them – what should they be doing?


Once upon a time, CIOs could count on having easy years and tough years. For some reason, the easy years now seem to be gone – every year is turning out to be a tough year. Many firms are seeing turn over in their CIO position. There is a lot of pressure being applied by company boards and more and more CIOs are being expected to be able to do everything. This is all occurring at the same time that CIOs are having to struggle with the threat of data breeches. These security failures pose a critical risk to firms. CIOs need to understand that the people who are trying to break into their corporate networks just keep getting better and better at what they do and cybersecurity is an ongoing war.

The need to protect their company against the cybersecurity threat is causing more and more firms to hire CIOs with a cybersecurity background. They are now looking for CIOs who have experience with artificial intelligence as one way to deal with this problem. Going forward, CIOs see cybersecurity as being one of their key challenges. They believe that the threat of a cyberbreech is going to become a very real possibility in the upcoming year.

Emerging Technologies

All CIOs know that the one thing that they need to keep their eyes open for is emerging technologies. If they are not careful, their company can quickly become surprised by the arrival of a new technology that nobody saw coming. A new technology at any point in time has the ability to upend the industry that they are currently working in or open the door to new markets for the company to pursue.

What CIOs are going to be asked to do by their companies in the upcoming year is to make sure that they don’t get surprised by any previously unknown rivals who may be more nimble than their firm. These are the firms that could find ways to use automation and things like artificial intelligence to come up with ways to steal customers especially in specific niche markets. CIOs understand that it is really the rivals that they don’t currently know about that they have to be the most worried about.


Every firm has a need to attract and hire new workers all the time. The arrival of new technologies is disrupting how this process is being carried out. One of the biggest challenges that CIOs are running into is that other industries, such as finance, now employ many software developers and are competing for top talent. The need for more workers can easily lead a CIO to hire workers across multiple continents.

Changes in government regulations like the recent U.S. change in corporate tax rates is freeing funding up to be spent on expanding a firm’s workforce. These additional funds can drive more research and development programs. One issue that CIOs need to deal with when they are hiring new workers is the issue of workplace misconduct. Most CIOs don’t view sexual harassment as being one of their most important issues. However, every CIO should be reviewing their code of conduct and what kind of protections their firm offers to whistleblowers.

What All Of This Means For You

As satisfying as the CIO job can be, it comes with its own unique set of challenges. Every year a CIO hopes that he or she is going to be in for an easy year; however, more and more often each year seems to turn out to be a tough year. CIOs are facing a large number of challenges and they are going to have to come up with ways of dealing with them.

One of the most challenging issues that CIOs are going to be dealing with in the upcoming year is going to be cybersecurity. The bad guys are not going away and they just seem to be getting better and better at attempting to break into corporate networks. Companies are starting to look for CIOs who have backgrounds in artificial intelligence in order to be able to deal with the growing threat. CIOs also have to be able to deal with the challenge posed by emerging technologies. These are the technologies that can show up overnight and transform a market or a company. CIOs have to be aware of rivals that can use emerging technologies to start to steal market share. CIOs need to keep their IT departments fully staffed. This can be a challenge to do because other industries, such as finance, are now competing for top talent. Tax changes may make more funding available for new programs going forward.

Nobody ever said that being CIO was going to be an easy job. However, in the past few years this job just seems to be getting harder and harder. In the upcoming year CIOs are going to be facing significant challenges. These challenges are going to be occurring in the cybersecurity, emerging technology, and hiring areas. The good news is that all of these issues can be handled, CIOs just need to make sure that they are aware of what is going to be required of them and make sure that they step up to the task.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: What kind of background do you think would make a CIO ready to deal with the emerging cybersecurity threat?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As the person with the CIO job, you are in charge of a lot of different things. There always seem to be projects going on, decisions to be made, and things for you to do that reflect the importance of information technology. However, just every so often, things go right. When this happens you accomplish something great. You now have a big decision to make. Should you tell other people about the good thing that you made happen? Should you brag?

Leave a Comment