Published on January 8, 2024, 6:37 am

A new year always brings with it fresh opportunities and challenges. As we enter 2024, it’s essential for IT leaders to prioritize their most critical tasks to save time and effort. The previous year was filled with surprises, particularly the exponential rise of AI, which had a significant impact on various IT sectors and captured the imagination (and fears) of people worldwide. Looking ahead, we can expect even more surprises and challenges in the next 12 months.

To stay ahead of these challenges, IT chiefs must evaluate their current business and technology strategies and make necessary adjustments to keep up with rapidly evolving technology, business practices, and economic trends. Here are the top 10 priorities that should be on every IT leader’s list:

1. Data Control: Jae Evans, global CIO and executive vice president at Oracle, stresses the importance of prioritizing data control in 2024. With vast amounts of data from diverse sources, leveraging technologies like generative AI and analytics can make data more meaningful and readily available in the right context. A robust data management strategy is crucial for success.

2. Achieving Balance: IT leaders should concentrate on achieving a balance between innovation initiatives and “keep the lights on” work. Orla Daly, CIO at Skillsoft, emphasizes maintaining operations while capitalizing on modest innovation initiatives to drive growth.

3. Cybersecurity Preparedness: Juan Orlandini, CTO for North America at Insight Enterprises, warns about the ongoing cybersecurity pandemic. CIOs should focus on being prepared to prevent cyber attacks by assembling the right cybersecurity team and investing in cyber recovery tools and processes.

4. Skills-Focused Development: Monica Caldas, CIO at Liberty Mutual Insurance, believes that a strong skills-focused development plan is imperative for IT leaders in 2024. Technology acceleration requires renewing existing workforce competencies while fostering a high-performance culture focused on delivering results.

5. Utilizing AI: Ahmed Fessi, chief transformation and information officer at Medius, highlights the importance of using AI to drive business innovation and efficiency. CIOs must champion AI while ensuring its safe and responsible use, especially with publicly accessible solutions like Chat GPT.

6. Identifying Use Cases: Fessi suggests identifying use cases that bring the most value to organizations. Running pilot projects and beginning small before scaling successful initiatives can help CIOs achieve the most significant impact with AI.

7. Increasing Digital Acumen: Diane Schwarz, CIO at Johnson Controls, is focused on increasing digital acumen across the enterprise. Integrating generative AI into core business processes requires employees to use it safely without compromising sensitive information.

8. Sourcing AI Talent: Gaudy Jandron, CIO at US Signal, acknowledges the shortage of AI talent in the market. IT leaders must think creatively about filling these roles by upskilling current team members in AI technologies and collaborating with external partners for expertise.

9. Cognitive Solutions: Mike Shanko, CTO at Blue Yonder, emphasizes securing organizational data and building a clean view of internal processes to develop cognitive solutions that enhance transformative processes.

10. Value Creation: Jeremy Rafuse, vice president of digital workplace and IT at GoTo, highlights value creation as a top goal for IT leaders in 2024. Consolidating software capabilities, migrating workloads to the cloud strategically, and streamlining business operations contribute to cost optimization while driving up overall IT value.

Cost optimization remains high on the list for most CIOs as organizations aim for a predictable and rationalized cost basis amid their digital transformations. A pragmatic approach focusing on agility, early outcomes, self-funding initiatives will help businesses maintain an optimized estate while digitizing their operations.

In summary, IT leaders in 2024 must be prepared to navigate evolving technology trends and address critical priorities such as data control, cybersecurity preparedness, skills development, and the strategic use of AI. By focusing on these priorities and making necessary adjustments, IT teams can drive innovation, efficiency, and successful digital transformations in the years to come.

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