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The 21st century executive

Top Priorities for CIOs and CTOs in 2023

2. Since early Q2 of 2022, financial pundits have been warning of a looming economic downturn. Key macroeconomic factors like China’s ongoing struggle with COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine conflict’s impact on global supply chains have seen costs rising around the globe and the resulting inflation is forcing interest rates up worldwide. With a recession looking ever more likely, 2023 is set to be an even rockier year. CIOs and CTO in tech and software certainly have their work cut out for them. So, what are the top priorities for tech leaders heading into the new year? 

What do tech executives care about? 

The tech industry has seen several unexpected challenges, from increased nation-state-level cybersecurity incursions to sweeping layoffs at some of the biggest names in tech and software. Not surprisingly, cybersecurity and cost optimization are high on the list for execs in tech this year. In preparation for a tough market year, many organizations are focusing on reducing costs to maintain profitability. It is no surprise that more and more businesses are adopting the following cost-optimization strategies; 

  • streamlining processes 
  • reducing waste 
  • reducing unnecessary expenses 

Ensuring financial stability is going to be a top priority for businesses moving forward. While enterprise tech spending is set to grow in 2023, businesses in tech and software still need to find ways to increase revenue. This may require expanding into new markets or diversifying product offerings. These strategies come with their own set of challenges. At the same time, they will also need to find novel ways to reduce risk, like reducing reliance on single large customers or external service providers. 


Top Tech Priorities for CIOs and CTOs 

The anxiety that comes with a recession often has significant impacts on business operations and expectations. It affects the demand for products and services and, more critically, the availability of funding. As business leaders demand better reportability and shrinking ROI terms on digital transformation investments, CIOs and CTOs are already under pressure planning for the coming year.  

According to business-consulting powerhouse, Gartner, the 10 top trending technologies for CIOs and CTOs heading into 2023 are: 

1. Applied Observability 

Applied observability refers to the ability to track how customers and clients interact with software and how the software performs in deployment. It differs from monitoring in the sense that monitoring tends to be a reactive practice and is a subset of observability. Developing and deploying software applications is a complex process. While monitoring it with KPIs and metrics has become a critical area of investment, applied observability has the potential to drive value more proactively.  

For software and IT services, observable systems provide actionable insights into the features customers use most and the areas of products where they’re having pains. These insights help to reveal areas for improvement and can expedite the feedback and innovation loop. In fact, Gartner expects that by 2026, applying observability will enable organizations to achieve faster decision-making and secure key competitive advantages. 

2. Digital Immune Systems

Digital Immune Systems incorporate a combination of software engineering, design, development, technologies, and data analytics to create an autonomous defense layer that allows faster response to both operational and security risks. The rise in cybercrime over the last 3 years has made cybersecurity and digital protection ongoing concerns for tech leaders. 2022 alone saw over 22 million data records exposed to cybercrime attacks. Digital protection and cybersecurity have traditionally employed a variety of software engineering strategies to identify and address security vulnerabilities.  

The end goal of Digital Immune Systems is to ensure superior customer and user experience by ensuring greater system availability. The better-defended enterprise applications can be the fewer system outages and critical vulnerabilities there are. This is essential for improving user confidence, and ultimately, brand reputation. 

3. AI Trust, Risk and Security Management (AI TRISM) 

2022 has seen a breathtaking evolution in AI capabilities, from generative AI tools like the polarizing DALL-E and ChatGPT-3, to enterprise-level decision management tools. As businesses rush to add AI solutions to their organizational strategies, however, there is also a strong need for trust, risk, and security management. Gartner identifies three areas as critical priorities for CIOs and CTOs. Establishing protocols for managing AI Trust depends on the explainability of the AI in use. This means understanding where and what kinds of data are being used and how the AI arrives at its outputs.  

AI implementations can also expose organizations to a wide range of risks ranging from data use rights to unintended ethical issues like biases in AI decision-making. Similarly, new AI implementations may be able to access user data and create unforeseen security threats both for customers and organizations employing the models. As more businesses move toward adopting AI solutions, tech leadership will need to take the helm and ensure that these areas are airtight. 

4. Adaptive AI  

With the popularity of AI tools surging this year, mainstream recognition and acceptance of artificial intelligence are gaining ground. A large part of AI’s success in 2022 has been generated by the capabilities of Adaptive Artificial Intelligence. Adaptive AI models can continuously update their training data to incorporate new information learned in deployment. 

Traditional AI models rely on training data, validation, and then retraining using curated data sets prepared by AI and Machine Learning researchers. An adaptive AI does this data collection and retraining continuously. What this means, is more adaptive AI models that are both resilient to change and that can provide faster solutions and functionalities in production. More enterprises are seeing the utility of Adaptive AI for automated customer service using advanced chatbots. As this technology evolves, more extensive use cases are likely to arise. 

5. Industry Cloud Platforms 

The rapid shift to Digital Transformation over the last few years has seen increased tech adoption in every industry. However, supply has been slow to keep pace with demand, meaning that digital implementations have not always been ideal. Enter, the industry cloud platform. Rather than relying on generic unspecified cloud platforms, there is a growing trend for specialized cloud platforms for targeted vertical industry needs. 

Industry Cloud Platforms offer high potential value for companies through adaptable and industry-specific solutions. The key advantages of the industry cloud platform model are modularity and composability. These can empower partners to deliver new customized capabilities through shared marketplaces and digital stores. This also makes it possible to share new technologies and business innovations cross-industry with greater customizability. 

6. Platform Engineering 

Platform Engineering is quickly becoming a major trend in software and tech. It capitalizes on cloud platform architecture to create a frictionless, self-service developer support system. When done right, they can provide development teams with all the tooling capabilities they need to produce high-value software with as little overhead as possible. To that end, they are designed to streamline development by providing commonly used tools and capabilities with integrations for more complex infrastructure.  

What makes these engineering platforms so useful is their customizability. Platforms in these implementations are products built and maintained by a dedicated platform team. The tools, capabilities, and data services available through the platform can be customized to suit the needs of users in development, data, and analytics, or even end-users. With cost optimization and productivity becoming higher priorities for tech chiefs, Engineering Platforms are set to become a real value booster.  

7. Super apps 

Software applications have increased in power and complexity over the past few years as the shift from stand-alone desktop applications has given way to cloud-supported SaaS applications. Now, as the software application industry continues to evolve, we are seeing the rise of a new breed of software applications–super apps. Super apps represent the new edge of software, providing a range of services to customers as well as payment and financial transaction processing.  

By offering a range of varied services under a single umbrella application, super apps offer an all-in-one user experience, that spans various aspects of users' social, commercial, and personal lives. A popular example is TenCent's WeChat app platform, which offers text messaging, voice messaging, videoconferencing, online gaming, and various other services.  

8. Wireless-Value Realization 

Wireless value realization refers to the creation of value and benefits from wireless technologies and services. With breakthrough technology like SpaceX’s Starlink, for example, high-speed internet connections are quickly becoming more ubiquitous. With more wireless service providers and users entering the market, there is room for huge gains to be made in developing applications and services that can capitalize on these technologies. Wireless services may even find high-impact applications in areas like: 

  • Location tracking  
  • Supply chain optimization through embedded IoT connectivity 
  • Improved developer performance through automated infrastructure operations 
  • Highspeed broadcasting and multicasting 
  • Wireless energy harvesting for ultra-low power wireless systems 

These benefits can be achieved through the deployment of improved technologies like cellular networks, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and satellite communications. As wireless technologies evolve, they offer an improved range of benefits like risk reduction, cost optimization, connectivity compliance, and improved developer and customer experiences. Looking ahead, true wireless value realization will depend on tech leaders to invest accurately in the available technologies and services to accelerate their digital transformation efforts. 

9. Sustainable Technology 

With climate change fears impacting policy and consumer trends worldwide, sustainability is becoming increasingly important for commercial enterprises. One of the main drivers is the need to address the environmental and social impacts of technological development. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, it is important to ensure that the development and use of technology are sustainable and avoid negative long-term consequences.  

For tech businesses, investing in sustainability comes with notable cost optimization advantages. The following sustainable technology implementations can help lower operational costs: 

  • Transitioning to Cloud solutions to reduce energy and hardware costs 
  • Improving data center efficiency 
  • Improving energy consumption in daily operations with smart energy technology 

Additionally, as consumers become more aware of the environmental impact their purchasing decisions have, many are demanding more sustainable options. Tech businesses that offer sustainable products and services can better meet this demand and differentiate themselves in the market. At the macroeconomic level, meeting government requirements for sustainability in their products can help with gaining access to new markets, as well as avoiding costly fines and penalties.  

10. The Metaverse 

CIOs and CTOs may have their sights set on the metaverse as it represents a new frontier in technology. Investing in innovative technologies can help businesses stay relevant and competitive by staying at the forefront of innovation. According to Gartner research, companies are getting ready to expand into the metaverse as tech advances lower the barriers to entry. With the increasing demand for immersive 360-degree consumer experiences, investment in metaverse presence is becoming a priority for some tech leaders.   

The virtual reality aspect of metaverse worlds offers a wide range of innovative ways for businesses to interact with their customers, prospects, and partners. Virtual storefronts in the metaverse, for example, could allow customers to browse and purchase products in a fully virtual environment. This has the potential to be a real game changer for businesses by reducing the costs associated with brick-and-mortar retail outlets. 

Another benefit of the metaverse is its potential for operational sustainability. Companies could use the metaverse to hold virtual meetings, conferences, and other events, allowing employees and stakeholders to connect and collaborate in a virtual environment. This could in turn reduce the numerous costs associated with traveling and hosting real-world events. 

Keep up to date with new developments in tech 

With technology constantly changing and evolving, CIOs and CTOs need to stay up to date with these changes to ensure their company's success. Leading the information and tech operations for any business presents a wide range of challenges. That’s why keeping an eye out for new developments and being ready to capitalize on opportunities to improve technology infrastructure is so important. This means understanding how new tech trends can be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your company's operations. On that note, check out this article to see how optimizing your development teams can reduce waste and improve ROI. 

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