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5 questions every CIO should ask of the CEO

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By Bryan E. Jones, Vice President of Marketing, North America and the Global 500, Dell

As National Small Business Week draws to a close, I can’t help but think about the way technology is enabling entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. This means CIOs are no longer just a service provider; they are strategic to the business. Organizations of every size need the flexibility to adapt quickly to be the drivers of change in their industry. The reality is that today, a company is truly only as innovative as its technology infrastructure will allow. That means a CIO must transform his or her role from supporting the business to advising CEOs on a business strategy that incorporates the use of technology solutions to grow organizations. 

Knowing that, Dell surveyed 2,000 IT pros in the midmarket for the first ever Global Technology Adoption Index that examines how security, cloud, mobility and big data are being adopted. We talked to nearly 5,000 employees at midsized companies across the globe to understand technology’s role in the workplace and employees’ expectations. 

While concerns emerged around the key topic areas, the study also found that these emerging technologies are not going away. With this in mind, here are five questions every CIO needs to ask his or her CEO to make sure the company is ready to embrace the technology trends of today and for the future.

1. What is the awareness of our security policy, and how often do we update the policy and reinforce that with training? 

Many times, security breaches are caused by end-users who leave a laptop behind or click on a virus. This can be prevented with technologies embedded in hardware but also empowering employees with an understanding of security risks and how they can easily help prevent them.

2. How important is it for our employees to have anytime, anywhere access to our applications and data and how will that impact our business?

There is a huge disconnect between BYOD use and enterprise-sanctioned BYOD use. More than half of global employees surveyed use personal devices for work purposes, yet only 32 percent of midmarket companies have an official BYOD plan.

3. How do you see the company’s footprint growing?

You can’t have a business today without talking about cloud – and choosing the right cloud-based solution is not easy. Different organizations need different solutions and that may change over time. Staying cloud agnostic gives CIOs the flexibility to absorb new technologies and migrate data.

4. How would you like to make the customer experience better?

CIOs are very good at collecting data, challenge is in getting insights that provide value. Nearly 60 percent of the respondents have big data collected, yet close to 40 percent aren’t able to extract insights. In the digital age, developing a consolidated data strategy that provides customer insights is key.

5. What is the type of talent we are looking to recruit in the future?

CIOs are now on the hook to attract and retain talent. Our research shows that 86 percent of senior executives consider technology in their decision and one-third of global employees would leave a job over lackluster tech options. Millennials expect a cutting edge tech environment. So, CIOs need to strike a balance between the latest and greatest technology that still meets enterprise needs.

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