The CIO Guide for 2023: Top Tips for Navigating Uncertainty in the New Year

By Saket Srivastava, Chief Information Officer at Asana

There has never been a better time to be a CIO. The pandemic has evolved how we regard the IT organization within businesses, in no small part due to the extensive role it played in keeping teams connected and able to perform during a more disconnected time than ever. No longer is the tech function conceived of as a back-office team — we are leading the charge in how the workplace adapts.

The year ahead will bring new and continuing challenges for all businesses. Organizations are once again turning to CIOs to bring about digital transformation that drives productivity, agility, and growth for the future. With two decades of experience working in technology, I’m no stranger to leading through uncertain times. With this in mind, I’ve created a survival guide for CIOs — with five key tips to help tech leaders navigate the year ahead while improving customer and employee experiences alike.

Make hyper prioritization a growth opportunity: While many organizations are faced with challenging economic conditions and resource constraints, CIOs have an exciting chance to turn these factors into new growth opportunities. Start by identifying and prioritizing which investments will have the biggest impact on your organization both in the short and long-term, enabling your teams not to spread themselves too thin focusing on less critical goals. Market constraints mean the opportunity to focus and double down on work that matters most.Scale up security investments: The move to a more distributed workforce has reset the level of flexibility employees have. However, it has also created security challenges — with more access points and sensitive information available to share and download on personal and corporate devices. Enhanced cybersecurity practices should be a priority for any CIO as they look to balance work between corporate and home offices. Additionally, make sure that your cloud technology tools use security industry best practices when it comes to how data is transmitted, stored, and processed. Internally, it’s vital for everyone to be aware of the dangers around sharing sensitive information — organizations should invest in robust security training to ensure company data isn’t compromised.Automate ongoing, low-skill tasks: Companies must increasingly focus on getting the most out of the investments they make in AI, tech, and data to optimize ongoing operational efficiencies. Automation is a sound investment to make, especially when it can free up employees to focus on high-impact work, optimize resources, and drive productivity. A few ways to get started are automating workflows through a work management platform to save employee time, reduce the need for status updates, and evolve from clunky spreadsheets and never-ending email chains; utilizing advanced data science models to understand customer pain points; and assessing the value your organization might gain from incorporating chatbots to power support teams. Tune in to customers: One of the single best investments that an organization can make in the coming year is ensuring that employees have the tools to be engaged, efficient, and productive. When teams can focus on work that drives meaningful results, it ultimately trickles down to improved customer experiences and outcomes. In the coming year, having a good read on customer needs will be crucial as many organizations battle resource constraints, challenging economic conditions, and continuing uncertainty when it comes to planning. Optimize distributed workforces: Today’s enterprise organizations rely on distributed teams, and it is important to ensure that employees collaborate effectively across time zones, geographies, and departments. One of the biggest challenges to workplace efficiency is that employees are distracted, often switching between an average of nine apps a day. This makes it easy to miss critical messages and updates from teammates. For CIOs, there will be a greater need for work management platforms to update individuals across multiple channels, integrate more productivity-focused tools, and minimize redundant cross-functional work and errors. 

CIOs have a breadth of touchpoints across any business. By optimizing both employee and customer experiences, they have a golden opportunity to help reduce friction and increase productivity. This will prove pivotal in positioning organizations not just for the year ahead, but also for longer-term growth. It’s a tall order, but by focusing on the priorities above, CIOs can ensure their enterprise remains nimble, relevant, and able to pivot around whatever the future may hold.

To learn more, visit us here.

Saket Srivastava, Chief Information Officer at Asana


Digital Transformation, IT Leadership