As transformative CIOs take driver’s seat, partners go full throttle

Dave West and Courtney Dodds (Cisco)

Dave West and Courtney Dodds (Cisco)

Credit: Cisco

As CIOs assume new positions of power within organisations — a voice of authority on innovation and transformation agendas — forward-thinking partners are repositioning to capitalise on a tidal wave of solutions, services and specialisations flowing through the market.

For the elevation of the IT department signals an elevation of the ecosystem as the channel prepares to maximise a significant shift in end-user approach post-pandemic.

“If you were a CIO before COVID-19, you were a cost centre and you were scraping for every project and investment,” observed Dave West, president of Asia Pacific, Japan and Greater China (APJC) at Cisco. “But now digital technologies have become boardroom conversations meaning CIOs are very much at the forefront of transformation.”

According to State of the CIO Research — commissioned and produced by — 70 per cent of CIOs have been elevated in position, influence and power since the pandemic across Asia Pacific, with such heightened visibility within the organisation expected to continue.

Specifically, 86 per cent of CIOs are becoming more digital and innovation focused, with 84 per cent now leading transformation initiatives across the region.

“We remember pre-pandemic when CIOs were fighting day in and day out for investment and support,” West recalled. “And Cisco and our partners were fighting alongside whether it was ensuring the business understood the evolving cyber threats or the need to embrace digital to create better customer experiences.

“But now the market is moving rapidly and every CIO is talking digital transformation in the region. For example in Japan, they are creating a digital agency and working on cloud transition plans. Likewise in India, the focus is on 5G, digital and hybrid work.”

The domino effect of increased CIO authority is a rise in technology budgets, with 56 per cent of IT leaders forecasting a spike in spending across the region, while 39 per cent are preparing for the same level of investment as the previous year — only five per cent of executives are bracing for a decrease.

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