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Image: Technology Spend & Other CIO Challenges During COVID

Just one quarter ago, CIOs were worried about many things, but pandemics were probably not even in the top 100 on the list of concerns. As we all know, in a matter of months, life and CIO priorities have changed dramatically. Worrying about customer experience with a new app feature pales in comparison to the current reality we face.

It’s readily apparent some industries are contracting under the weight of this health crisis, while others are struggling to meet huge demand spikes under difficult conditions. These business impacts are sure to last for months with repercussions potentially felt for years.  As economic uncertainty pervades the global economy, challenges CIOs face are shifting daily, from supporting a work-from-home employee base to identifying cost savings and reducing capital purchases. Despite the uncertainty about tomorrow, CIOs will have a significant impact on how well their company emerges from the current crisis.

Planning agility

In the Flexera 2020 CIO Priorities report, 41 percent of CIOs and IT leaders reported they update their strategic roadmap at least monthly. Now, when business conditions are rapidly transforming, the strategic roadmap must be revised quickly and continually to reflect emerging business impacts and lessons learned in other geographies and industries. Under pressure, CIOs will continue to make critical decisions as quickly as possible, but most are reporting they have limited amounts of good quality data about their technology spend and IT environments, and few are able to easily tie that data to the business services they deliver:

  • 61 percent have difficulty reporting on spend by business service
  • 89 percent are challenged by a lack of good quality data about their IT environments

In November 2019, 84 percent of CIOs reported they were making too many decisions. This will continue for the foreseeable future and will likely increase as the business environment remains dynamic. With these limitations in mind, CIOs and senior IT leaders need to focus on ensuring the decisions they’re making are based on the most accurate data they have access to and that it accurately reflects the current business posture.

The top challenges for CIOs in managing spend are manual processes, avoiding waste, understanding the cost of delivered services and getting the data needed to optimize spend

Gaining consensus on decisions that were easy a few months ago was a challenge for 76 percent of respondents but will be even more difficult when the decisions need to be made quickly. Deciding to switch the office-based workforce to a work-from-home model was an easy one to protect the health of the employees. But understanding all the cost implications (some of which are not transparent) associated with that change are not so easily understood. To overcome this challenge, CIOs need improved visibility into IT spend. As we saw in the Flexera State of Tech Spend Report, getting visibility into IT spend by business service, by application and by project or program are challenges and not solved by hitting the easy button we all wish we had.

Organizations are not mature in optimizing spend—especially in cloud and SaaS

Avoiding waste, ensuring spend efficiency and identifying cost elimination opportunities are mandatory in uncertain economic times both for industries that are contracting and those experiencing a demand surge. To get that much needed visibility into technology spend across software that is on-premises, SaaS and in the cloud, and combine it with an agile approach to decision making, CIOs and CFOs can leverage Flexera’s deep expertise in cost optimization across technology assets. Implementing technology investment management strategies today can position the business for success now and when economic conditions shift again.

For more information on Flexera, visit https://www.flexera.com