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Improving the IT team's efficiency is key to doing more with less.
CIOs face myriad challenges in navigating today's business world, including adapting legacy systems to work with cloud-based technologies, rising inflation and disruption of global supply chains. CIOs must focus on managing the IT department with fewer employees, reduced budgets and the organization's desire to lower costs wherever possible.
However, taking the glass is half-full approach means these challenges open the door to new opportunities.
Economic realities continue to change business outlooks, even as new technologies drive digital transformation. CIOs must deliver and support revenue-generating services, which can put CIOs between a rock and a hard place.
CIOs should make sure they become even more strategic in their use of -- and approach to -- technology. With emphasis on reducing or rationalizing budgets, there are key areas business leaders should prioritize. These include streamlining IT operating costs, identifying requisite skills in the IT department and increasing data literacy across the organization as one means of shifting employees toward insight-generating roles.
Here are three strategies CIOs can use to support cost-reduction and improve their IT team's efficiency.
1. The use of process intelligence
Whether it's artificial intelligence, machine learning or analytics, deploying advanced technologies without a plan is not the answer to improving operations and reducing costs. CIOs must identify the areas of need, research what solutions might be applicable and calculate potential ROI.
One way to accomplish this is through process intelligence, a technology that uses automation tools to analyze operational data at scale, revealing inefficiencies and other bottlenecks. These actionable insights help transform inefficient workflows into cost-effective, streamlined operations.
Process intelligence may be one means of supporting a digital transformation. Genpact partnered with HFS Research to interview 400 senior global leaders to study its use about process intelligence.
About 91% of respondents identified process intelligence as a key tool to drive business value. Similarly, 50% said they expect to see the influence from process intelligence within a year.
2. Employee upskilling
Attracting and retaining skilled IT professionals is a significant challenge. Workforce education requires upskilling employees.
Many executives view development programs as critical to success, according to "Global Human Capital Trends 2016," a report by Deloitte. About 84% of executives view learning as important, and 44% ranked learning as very important.
For example, Genpact created DataBridge, an initiative designed to increase data literacy throughout the organization. The goal was to help employees discover insight-generating ideas rather than basic transactional projects.
Focusing on upskilling and continually teaching employees new skills helps with employee retention.
Sixty-one percent of respondents named the lack of career development and advancement as a top three cause of turnover, according to "Better Workplaces on a Budget," a 2022 study by the SHRM Research Institute. About 21% of respondents said it was the top reason for turnover.
3. Partnership building
The CIO's support of outside partnerships to strengthen in-house teams can go a long way.
IT leaders need cross-functional insight and support to optimize technology initiatives because they're important to an organization's competitive edge. CIOs should cultivate a diverse team of technology experts, including data scientists, process specialists and analytics experts.
For some projects, it's worth partnering with consulting firms due to their readily available reservoir of IT talent that can quickly start on a project. Consultants can be beneficial, but don't hire them to replace existing in-house talent. Outside experts can enhance existing IT teams by filling talent gaps and through knowledge sharing.
Every company operates differently, and no two situations are the same.
Even on the best days, the role of the CIO is challenging. CIOs are asked to manage budgets, address staffing needs, enhance security and justify costs to the executive leadership.
CIOs must be prepared to demonstrate the ability to use technology that generates tangible ROI, deploy new operating models that enhance innovation and adapt to a world that requires a do more with less approach to lead their company to new heights of success.
Amaresh Tripathy is the business leader of analytics at Genpact, a global professional services firm delivering outcomes that transform clients' businesses. He leads an extensive global team of analytics experts covering data engineering, data insights, AI and machine learning. Apart from growing the company's analytics business, he's responsible for increasing the data fluency of Genpact's 115,000 employees worldwide.