3 Reasons Why the C-Suite Needs IT Experts
Information technology impacts all aspects of a business. And yet, when business leaders make plans, IT is often treated as an afterthought.
Historically, business executives left all of the technical aspects to their Chief Information Officer. The executive team expected the CIO to take care of all the company’s technical IT tasks. But when the executives had strategy sessions, they did not invite CIOs.
Such a narrow view of the contributions of IT leaders leaves out many valuable perspectives that these experts could provide. Today, when companies bypass leaders who have a firm grasp on technology, they do so at their own risk.
As emerging IT professionals study the IT challenges of the future, they should also learn skills to prepare them to be a valued member of the C-suite. In particular, high-level IT professionals should have the ability to guide C-suite decisions on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and 5G strategies. Here’s why.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report in 2020, cybersecurity attacks were considered to be a continuously growing long term risk with severe damaging effects. Despite this risk, many executives do not have enough knowledge about the threats to create a plan to mitigate the risk. And IT professionals often do not have the executive-level understanding of the business they would need to address the threats.
The solution is to have someone on the executive team with a deep understanding of cybersecurity. This individual would coordinate company teams to address cybersecurity, rather than only leaving it as an IT issue.
The results of a survey from Appen show that executive involvement in AI initiatives has increased in 2020. Seventy-one percent of companies reported executive involvement in 2020, as compared to only 39 percent in 2019. Moreover, AI budgets that were over $500K in 2019 nearly doubled in 2020.
Fifty percent of the companies in the Appen survey reported that they had increased their AI initiatives. Appen speculates that this swift adoption is due to “executives betting on AI projects to have a positive impact on their organizations’ resiliency, efficiency, and innovation.” But the question of implementation remains. Do executives have enough understanding of AI to take advantage of the technology?
Without an IT expert on the executive team, executives might develop unrealistic goals for AI. Recognizing the difference between specialized AI and artificial general intelligence (AGI) is extremely important. AI includes known applications such as robots or credit risk programs in banks, while AGI promises machines capable of complex human-like reasoning.
While AGI is decades away, an IT expert at the executive level would help keep ideas within the realm of possibility. This professional could be scanning the horizon for imminent advances in AI and AGI that may impact the company.
5G will change businesses more than the internet ever did. According to the Forbes Technology Council, 79% of business and technology decision-makers believe 5G will have a significant impact on their organization. In contrast, only 24% in the study said that 4G’s impact was substantial.
Many business leaders who have incorporated such things as teleconferencing, large file transfers, and remote access applications may consider companies to be technologically advanced. But they may not realize that 5G will offer new applications, automated processes, and efficiencies that aren’t possible with 4G. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the possibilities include such things as manufacturing equipment that will be able to detect malfunctions before they occur and smart shelves in a retail store that can check inventory and place orders with suppliers when products run low.
5G is potent enough to change markets and opportunities. Thus, incorporating future technology advances into business planning is critical. Executives cannot afford to make decisions based on a faulty or incomplete understanding of the technology.
Aspiring leaders who want an in-depth knowledge of IT should consider the Master of Science in Applied Information Technology program at Montclair State University. Check it out today!
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