CIOs Change Buying Strategies in Face of New Economic Pressures
Forrester just released its 2020 CIO Predictions report indicating a major shift in CIO strategies for next year. The research firm says the economic uncertainties that existed this year will accelerate — as will disruptors.
The bad news is that CIOs already have made their IT organizations lean and there’s not much left to cut, optimize, leverage or outsource. That leaves IT cornered in a time when circumstances beyond their control loom large. Channel partners, too, will be challenged to meet the needs of newly evolving CIO strategies.
The year 2020 is only a couple of months away. It brings with it an impeachment trial and/or its aftermath, a possible government shutdown, a worldwide economic slowdown, ongoing trade wars, the aftermath of Brexit, U.S. elections ad tightening regulations, and an onslaught of new and old security threats. To say the issues CIOs must counter are complex and overwhelming is an understatement.
But counter they must if their companies are to survive these difficult times. Forrester predicts they will do so by making a hard shift from technology to people. At first glance, this appears counterintuitive to past years’ mantra to increase efficiency and cut people.
Forrester says expect the march toward more automation to continue. CIOs will automate 10% of their IT tasks, but also expect them to focus on increasing staff capabilities. Forrester says CIOs will look to upskill displaced personnel.
But not all of the focus on people is by choice. Forrester says that “changing workforce dynamics and workforce experience will push ‘people’ to the top of the CIO agenda.”
Even so, Forrester predicts that “enterprises with CIOs reporting to CFOs and COOs will miss growth targets.” That’s not likely to put them in a spending mood, no matter what MSPs, MSSPs and other providers may offer, or what channel partners may need.
So how can those groups pivot in order to better fit the “people focus” Forrester predicts CIOs will embrace next year?
“I tell service providers to focus on how their services help augment and solve people problems. It’s not about the technology anymore,” Brian Hopkins, VP, principal analyst, at Forrester, and author of the report told Channel Futures’ MSSP Insider.
“I also think it means service providers need to be a lot more flexible in how they contract work. CIOs need to build adaptive IT organizations, which means that long sales cycles, big projects and armies of consultants living onsite forever don’t resonate anymore,” Hopkins added.
Forrester says CIOs will focus more on developing people internally too.
“We think that a lot of latent talent exists in organizations, so CIOs are in a good position to help find these pools and bring training to uplift skills internally because externally talent is hard to find,” Hopkins said.
This could mean new competition for providers in terms of talent acquisition and augmenting customer talent needs. But it also provides an opportunity for providers to upsell or cross-sell training programs to help identify and repurpose talent currently employed in other roles by the customer.