Innovation Report: CIOs Need to Look Outside Their Industries in 2020

Each year, Softchoice hosts the Innovation Executive Forum, meeting with hundreds of CIOs and senior IT leaders at exclusive events across North America. We capture the best insights in an annual report to share what our IEF members have on their minds and what they’ve learned.

Before we get into this year’s report, we wanted to recognize that we are all dealing with a new form of normal.  While the insights we gathered for this report don’t acknowledge the changes and pivots you have made due to COVID-19, there are still things to consider once you advance your business continuity planning beyond triage to continuity, stability, efficiency and recovery.

For this year’s IEF Innovation Report, a look back, we took a different approach. We decided to pay close attention to stories reflecting challenges specific to the industries and verticals in which IEF members operate.

Looking at each story in its unique context, we hoped to find out whether the lessons learned in one vertical or industry would apply to IT leaders in others.

The results were clear. IT leaders find have a lot they can learn from their peers and looking for answers outside their own verticals helped to clarify the challenges facing IT leaders everywhere.

We dive into some of the key takeaways from our 2019 IEF Innovation report below.

CIOs Must Embrace Digital Ethics 

From safeguarding data to protecting people from themselves, the work of IT leaders has taken on a new ethical dimension. Our IEF members agreed, IT leaders can no longer pursue innovation without first taking responsibility for its potential impact on people and society.

We saw this throughout our events in 2019. From IT leaders struggling to find safe ways to use AI in healthcare and banking to those in the restaurant sector looking to create a secure data footprint before embracing machine learning and automation, ethics has played a big part.

Experience is the End, Technology the Means

Across the continent, IT leaders have expressed the need to focus on one thing: Experience. Many of our members feel their job isn’t just to deliver technology solutions. Instead, they need to leverage technology into better experiences with customers, employees and anyone their organization touches.

In many IEF discussions, we saw fintech and energy companies using AI and mobile apps to improve customer benefits. Healthcare innovators focused on delivering Amazon Alexa-inspired patient care.

IT Needs to Prove Business Value – Always 

IT must balance ethics and deliver heightened experiences, all while proving the true value to the business. Ultimately, the bottom line is where your success (and failure) is measured.

During our IEF sessions, we saw how government agencies prioritize cloud investments, shipping industry leaders are building support for AI with proofs of concept and how one restaurant IT leader demands clarity on business value, before investing in big data.

Time to Look Outside Your Lane? 

This is just a preview of the great stories and advice gleaned from our members in 2019. If you want to take a look beyond your lane to accelerate your path to innovation, read the full report now.

In the meantime, be well, be safe!


To learn more about the IEF and apply to become a member, visit our IEF homepage.