Biggest Tech Challenges CIOs Need to Tackle in 2014

By Ryan Desmind | Apr 03, 2014

CIOs face many complex challenges in this new age. As a CIO, you just can’t operate traditionally; rather you have to make yourself valuable enough and lead from the front by using technology as a weapon to make a difference to the business. You need to start reevaluating your role.

So, what could be the potential challenges CIOs face in 2014? Is it BYOD, IoT, Cloud Computing or something else? Let us look at the biggest challenges of this year to get a clear picture.


According to Gartner’s annual CIO survey, 42% of people responded that they don’t have the talent required to face the challenging era of digitalization.

This is a serious concern. Crafting the right digital strategy will require financial support, cooperation, and motivation to adapt to change. CIOs can only be digital leaders if they are given the tools to create a digital enterprise. To become a digital leader, CIOs need to focus on:

  • Incorporating Technology into the Core of the Business – Gone are the days when conventional liaison methods used to offer a competitive advantage. Today, CIOs need to incorporate technology into the core of the business in order to bring value.
  • Bringing Digital Innovation – CIOs need to think of changing the way business products are being innovated now. These changes must look at the business problems in nontraditional ways. CIOs need to enable a digital innovation culture to make their business distinct in this competitive world.
  • Becoming a Chief Digital Officer – CIOs need to extend their functional role from being Technical Heads to Digital Leaders. They should not think of implementing conventional technologies, but they should be able to add digital technology wherever justified to meet their organization’s goals in a more efficient manner.

Cloud Security

According to the McAfee Labs report, there will be an increased number of attacks on shared resources in any PaaS, IaaS, or SaaS cloud environment this year.

Recently, the two biggest players in the Online Workplace Elance and ODesk encountered denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, which seriously affected many freelancers. Similar attacks can also happen with your cloud data and result in huge financial loss.

You may allow your employees to access mobile devices for file sharing and exchange of other information to increase productivity, but you must also know that it could lead to a serious threat to your company’s confidential data. Protecting enterprise information is not an easy job to do, and as CIO you need to think seriously on formulating a cloud security policy which should emphasize on making the sharing procedures clear enough by identifying what to disclose and where to draw the line.

Enterprise Mobility

Enabling your organization to go mobile may seem like a good approach, but it brings many challenges from data security to device theft. The key challenge lies in propagating multiple platforms to support various applications. This needs to be changed. CIOs need to think of incorporating a common platform that can be used for multiple applications and can be extended if needed in the near future.

Another challenge could be if devices support multiple applications, then confidential data and its safety would raise serious concerns. In that case, devices and applications should be configured wisely to protect the business from any malicious activity.

In 2014, enterprise mobile apps are expected to play a significant role in the enterprise IT application stack. This will create several challenges for CIOs like ensuring a good user experience and enabling a perfect integration with internal systems.

Socially Enabled Organization

The enterprise social platform is the new challenge for CIOs, mainly adoption. To ensure the social platform helps the business, CIOs need to focus on building social culture with partners, customers and employees that engages teams through conversations and make the platform instinctive and user friendly. Enterprise social platforms can significantly make an impact on improving productivity by enabling quicker decision-making, problem solving and approvals. Also, CIOs need to be innovative enough and aware of the digital rights to make it happen and establish a successful organization.

The Internet of Things

The Internet has expanded far beyond our imagination from mobile devices and computers to field equipment, and consumer products such as smart TVs and cars. However, the challenge lies in adoption; most enterprises are not ready yet to explore the expanded internet, either organizationally or operationally.

Securing the Internet of Things is also a big challenge. The biggest concern is data compromise. You should not blindly assume that Internet-enabled devices are safe enough. CIOs should not only be aware of the Internet-connected devices in the organization but also need to keep an eye on how the devices operate and interact with each other, especially in terms of data transfer.

Another challenge is that it is still fragmented and lacks interoperability. CIOs need to tackle this challenge to unleash the full potential of the Internet of Things.

Lack of IoT specific skills also poses a new challenge for CIOs as it works as a barrier in using it more extensively. CIOs should concentrate on hiring the right talent and consultants to ease the difficulty.

Big Data

Big Data is the new buzz in Information Technology, but it brings the following challenges for CIOs as well.

  • Privacy and Legal Worries – Legal challenges over Big Data privacy is a serious issue. With the rise of the IoT, more mobile devices and drones, much bigger data, sensor data, and maybe image data will be generated according to the IEEE Computer Society. CIOs need to keep themselves well aware of any changes to data protection laws.
  • Discrimination – Discrimination has been a problem for years, but according to Microsoft’s Kate Crawford, Big Data is leading to “more precise forms of discrimination”. CIOs can tackle this challenge by formulating Big Data usage policies and working on data governance to secure the data.


According to Gartner, by 2017 “half of the employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes”. Now, the question that arises for CIOs is: how can they securely integrate employee devices into the corporate IT system?

The unexpected growth of bring your own device (BYOD) programs is putting a huge strain on IT departments. To tackle these, CIOs need to review and implement correct IT policies on employee-owned hardware usage. The policies should outline what they can and can’t do. There should be a good balance between flexibility with privacy and confidentiality requirements.

According to the 2013 BYOX – Bring Your Own Anything survey conducted by Ovum, over a third of employees use their personal device to do work without their IT department’s knowledge. The highest percentage of usage belongs to the smartphone users which was around 67.8% and 15.4% of whom do not inform the IT department about it — and another 20.9% do the same by neglecting the rules of their company’s anti-BYOD policy.

So, what do you think now? What has been the biggest challenge for you so far? Any other challenges you think should be highlighted? Let us know by tweeting us @chaione.


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