CEO directives: Top 10 initiatives for IT leaders

When the calendar flipped to 2021, CIO Sue Workman started looking back at the IT priorities she had set for Case Western Reserve University back in July to see which initiatives were still tenable. “Are we still there, or are we now able to think differently?” Workman deliberated.

She concluded that the university’s IT strategy now required a whole new set of initiatives.[ Learn from your peers: Check out our State of the CIO 2021 report on the challenges and concerns of CIOs today. | Find out the 7 skills of successful digital leaders and the secrets of highly innovative CIOs. | Get weekly insights by signing up for our CIO Leader newsletter. ]

“Our vision has changed,” she says. “Things that we were still trying to do, we can do faster now, and because of COVID we’ve been able to move people’s ability and willingness to change more quickly.”

COVID-related IT initiatives are not over for most companies, but IT leaders are now finding breathing room to move forward. CEOs now hope that their CIOs can spend their time on more strategic and transformative tasks. The expectation is that the burden of functional duties will lessen, potentially due to the rise of automation and other advanced technologies.

Our annual State of the CIO report, which surveyed 812 IT leaders and 250 line of business participants, revealed a long list of initiatives that CEOs would like their CIOs to prioritize in 2021. Here are the top five.


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