CIO Cloud Data IoT

Top 10 CIO Trends for 2019

Top CIO Trends for 2019.001

As we get ready to close out 2018 and look toward 2019, there are a number of items that will take top focus for the CIO. In 2019, the list moves away from just a technology focus. CIOs are looking for ways to shift from a traditional CIO role to a transformational CIO role. In order to do so, their list of focus areas much shift accordingly.


1. Business Transformation -> Digital Transformation:

Companies are already starting to realize that digital transformation, while powerful in theory, is missing a critical component: Context. Ultimately, in 2019, companies will focus on business transformation as the key to providing context and ultimately leading digital transformation…not the other way around.

2. Customer Engagement:

In line with business transformation, CIOs in 2019 will focus on two things a) how they can engage more directly with customers and b) how they can lead efforts to engage customers more holistically through the use of technology. The key here is in understanding the customer…which will require strong partnerships with other parts of the c-suite including the CMO.

3. Data Enablement:

Central to understanding customers and increasing engagement opportunities is data. CIOs will shift from focusing on managing the bits on a disk to turning data into insights. Beyond customer engagement, information (based on the data) becomes critical to faster and more accurate business decisions. The CIO plays a collaborate role to identify opportunities across the c-suite.

4. Organization and Soft Skills:

In order to change the IT organization from being tech-centric to business-centric, a dramatic cultural shift is needed. The transformational CIO will spend 2019 focused on changing their organization and skills to focus more on soft skills than simply tech skills. Due to competition in this space, CIOs will need to consider alternative staffing options including embracing the gig economy.

5. Regulatory and Compliance:

Unlike past years where regulatory and compliance only affected specific industries such as financial services and healthcare, new regulatory and compliance requirements now span most, if not all, industries. New regulatory requirements such as GDPR and NY cybersecurity data privacy rules are starting to take hold. CIOs will need to craft careful strategies to address this seemingly growing pile of requirements.

6. Edge/ IoT to Cloud:

2019 is the year when enterprise CIOs will consider how to enable the spectrum of technologies into the fold. The edge-to-cloud spectrum provides an interesting opportunity now that mature solutions consider ways to tackle the end-to-end complexities.

7. Hybrid and Multi-Cloud:

Cloud is still the single-biggest opportunity for the enterprise CIO from a technology perspective. Yet, enterprises are just now starting to embrace cloud as part of their holistic strategy. Expect the CIO to consider how best to leverage the combination of hybrid and multi-cloud as part of their technology toolbox.

8. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning:

The sheer amount of data is forcing enterprises to consider how to change up their game plan. In 2019, look for the CIO to leverage AI & ML in innovative ways to combat these challenges. RPA will be there, but only in a supporting role as part of a more holistic strategy that leverages AI & ML.

9. Blockchain:

Now that the hype around blockchain is starting to settle, expect enterprise CIOs to look for ‘appropriate’ ways to leverage blockchain to solve problems that alternative solutions could not do. Common swim lanes and criteria are already starting to surface.

10. Cybersecurity:

No list would be complete without consideration for cybersecurity. In 2019 look for CIOs to move beyond the basics to leverage new methods of risk mitigation. Cybersecurity is now a board-level conversation and CIOs will take new paths to engage in conversations beyond the traditional approach.


Beyond the major 2019 CIO trends, look for a few macro trends as well:

  1. Business Focus
  2. Intelligence
  3. Automation
  4. Risk Mitigation
  5. Developer Engagement


Looking a bit further afield, there are a number of trends coming. While these are not top trends across the broader contingent of CIOs in 2019, there is already research starting in these areas:

  1. 5G
  2. Autonomous
  3. Robotics
  4. AR & VR
  5. Quantum


2018 has been a spectacular year for the CIO and 2019 is already shaping up to be even better. There has never been a better time to be a CIO.

As we close out 2018, happy holidays to you and your family. And a very happy new year!

Tim Crawford is ranked as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Chief Information Technology Officers (#4), Top 100 Most Social CIOs (#7), Top 20 People Most Retweeted by IT Leaders (#5) and Top 100 Cloud Experts and Influencers. Tim is a strategic CIO & advisor that works with large global enterprise organizations across a number of industries including financial services, healthcare, major airlines and high-tech. Tim’s work differentiates and catapults organizations in transformative ways through the use of technology as a strategic lever. Tim takes a provocative, but pragmatic approach to the intersection of business and technology. Tim is an internationally renowned CIO thought leader including Digital Transformation, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics and Internet of Things (IoT). Tim has served as CIO and other senior IT roles with global organizations such as Konica Minolta/ All Covered, Stanford University, Knight-Ridder, Philips Electronics and National Semiconductor. Tim is also the host of the CIO In The Know (CIOitk) podcast. CIOitk is a weekly podcast that interviews CIOs on the top issues facing CIOs today. Tim holds an MBA in International Business with Honors from Golden Gate University Ageno School of Business and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems from Golden Gate University.

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