CIO In The Know – generative AI and beyond

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The top discussion topic both publicly and privately for the past two weeks has been generative AI. That should come as no surprise and more on that in a minute.

CIOs continue to struggle through the macroeconomic climate in a way that addresses the immediate concerns while not cutting off so much that they struggle during the recovery period. Those of us that have been through multiple cycles know the trap.

The organization makes radical and fast changes to address financial concerns. Unfortunately, that has a two nasty side effects: 1) Due to the speed in which the cuts are made, there is no time to reorganize or rearchitect in order to effectively manage with a smaller budget and team. And 2) the post-downturn recovery time due to cuts is not quick. Both lead to problems during the downturn and when trying to exit it. The objective is to quickly make the changes necessary while keeping a close eye on the future state. The way one manages through this is more of an art than a science and takes finesse.

Add to that the continued challenges around tech staffing and, well, it is a difficult time for CIOs.

CIO water cooler talk

As if managing through the macroeconomic conditions were not enough, CIOs are struggling to react to the current bright shiny object of generative AI.

Part of that is based on the vast opportunities it brings. While another part is based on the concerns of how it could be misused. Frankly, this is a common challenge for CIOs: Enable innovation but be the voice of reason when needed. The challenge is to ensure it does not come across as the ‘department of no’.

CIOs are coming up with clever ways to navigate this space, but to a large extent it is still experimental in nature.

Generative AI is not the only topic coming up in conversations. Here are a few more topics that are being discussed:

  • Budget Changes. CIOs are continuing to find ways to cut spending as a precursor to potential budget cuts. While some CIOs are being asked to officially cut their budget, many are taking preventative steps to defer or delay spending.
  • FinOps. Financial Operations (FinOps) is a hot topic, but nothing new for some CIOs. In line with financial tightening, CIOs are looking at opportunities to refactor their budgets through staffing changes and consolidation where possible.
  • Observability. Observability is coming up in a few different categories including FinOps, operational effectiveness, compliance, and efficiency. There is still quite a bit of confusion about the difference between observability and monitoring.
  • Technical Debt. Many CIOs want to desperately start tackling tech debt, but have their hands tied with the current macroeconomic conditions. I suspect this topic will quickly come back into vogue as the macroeconomic conditions wane.
  • Identity Management. Digital identity management has long been a problem. There is a myriad of solutions that have tried to quell the challenges with mixed results. As relationships between stakeholders get more complicated, identity management is again coming up in discussions.

Latest from the blog

I was recently asked if generative AI was disruptive or enabling. It was such a great question and lead to the subject of the latest blog post: Is generative AI disruptive or enabling. That blog post then led to a solid conversation on what is disruptive versus enabling.

There were a couple of great comments to highlight. One comment suggested that by being enabling it could be disruptive. Another comment suggested that the answer may change over time which it starts out being enabling, but over time becoming disruptive. Great comments. 

Latest from the podcasts

This week, both AVOA Network podcasts relaunched. CIO In The Know is a podcast of conversations with leading CIOs. CxO In The Know is a podcast of conversations with leading non-CIO executives.

Both podcasts are now available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. New episodes are on the way for both podcasts so be sure to subscribe.

In the news

As technology companies continue to announce layoffs, enterprises are looking for ways to capitalize on this while managing their own staffing challenges. Add to that the marked shift of more companies expecting employees to return to office and we can expect more staffing movement in and out of companies.

What’s your take?

The proverbial CIO plate is still overflowing and changing at the same time. What is keeping you busy?

Now it’s your turn. What’s your take? I’d love to hear from you and your perspective.

Be sure to subscribe to the CIO In The Know newsletter, CIO In The Know podcast and CxO In The Know podcast to ensure you do not miss an update. Also, if there are others you think would this newsletter valuable, please forward them a copy and encourage them to subscribe.

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