Top 5 CIO Challenges and What to Do About Them


CIO challenges in 2023 reflect the ever-increasing expectations, visibility, and importance of the role. Companies expect CIOs to participate in board-level discussions about cybersecurity and tech investments for organizational initiatives. They influence planning, strategy, implementation, and operations. So, as a CIO, you probably feel like there is no area in your company that you don’t touch somehow, and you are feeling the pressure to address more challenges than ever. In this blog article, I share what most in the industry believe are the top five CIO challenges and explain how low-code can help you address them.

Top CIO Challenges: What Are They?

Everyone has an opinion about the top CIO challenges today. Some look at them through the lens of priorities. Others position them from the narrow view of IT challenges. After reading 10 different articles on the topic, I used their content to develop my own top five CIO challenges:

  1. Competing IT priorities in uncertain times
  2. Increasing risks from cybersecurity threats
  3. Delivering amazing customer experiences on a tighter budget
  4. Keeping up with AI/ML developments
  5. Getting the most value from digital transformation

With the exception of cybersecurity, which has been a concern for CIOs since data and commerce moved online, these challenges represent a shift in focus driven by the pandemic and its aftereffects. Let’s look at this list of top CIO challenges in more detail.

1. Competing IT Priorities in Uncertain Times

In just three years, the world has become a different place. Major economic, political, and societal changes are forcing CIOs to transition to new IT models. Yet so much is still up in the air about what those models should look like because the requirements appear to be at odds.

Economic uncertainty affects technology choices

Inflation! Recession! Shrinking GDP! Job cuts! Economic panic has been a hot media topic for more than a year now with tech giants fanning the flames. This has created a panic of sorts about a tanking global economy. Yet months of job, wage, inflation, and other economic reports show that not only is there no recession but there also might not be one on the horizon. This makes the job of a CIO really tough. How do you make the right technology choices for your business on an economic roller coaster?

New political and social factors are challenging CIOs

New geopolitical alignments are forcing a shift in computing from global to decentralized. Yet, social change and remote and hybrid work require offering more people more centralized access to technology, which requires greater flexibility and identity-based security protections, and talent that’s in short supply. So, CIOs are challenged to design a new IT model. There’s also the push for them to examine IT's contribution to the carbon footprint, while gathering data to help other corporate functions move to a low-carbon economy. That’s a lot of responsibility to put on the shoulders of one person–or even one department.

2. Increasing Risks from Sophisticated Cyber Threats

Cybersecurity is a perennial CIO challenge. But these days, with attacks and attackers morphing and proliferating at warp speed, the situation has gotten worse. Hackers now use AI and ML for sophisticated attacks, work in gangs, advertise jobs on forums and Telegram, and offer ransomware as a service. It’s a lucrative business. Cybercrime Magazine predicts the cost of attacks will reach $10.5 trillion USD by 2025. CIOs are challenged to automate their cyber defenses, implement Zero Trust policies, and keep employees aware of risks in the midst of a growing cybersecurity talent gap.

3. Delivering Amazing Customer Experiences on a Tighter Budget

The pressure is on for CIOs to deliver new and proven ways to respond to change and new customer or internal user demands at lightspeed is immense. Slow response times, performance issues, data hiccups, bumpy user experiences, and outdated interfaces are all essentially tickets on a train bound for lost customers, reputation, and revenue. You know the experiences you need to offer customers so you can stay ahead of the pack. But you are likely dealing with cost constraints that increase the already tough challenge of finding or training talent that can deliver the experience, speed, and performance customers expect.

4. Keeping Up With AI/ML Developments

Who hasn’t fallen in love with the promise of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) since ChatGPT made it possible for us to interact with both using plain English? When embedded in apps, AI delivers chatbots, predictions, AR and VR, voice conversations, and more that attract, land, help, and retain customers and users. Exploiting IoT data enables real-time analytics and decision-making based on hundreds of thousands of data points. The CIO challenge with artificial intelligence and machine-learning is finding or training developers and data scientists who can deliver intelligent apps and systems that not only grow your business but also deliver real ROI.

5. Getting the Most Value From Digital Transformation

During the pandemic, companies were forced to accelerate digital transformation initiatives to do business in a remote, locked-down, and video-conference world. The result was a labyrinth of app and system spaghetti with loose connections (or none at all!), silos of information and people, and an inability to scale. As a result, CIOs are facing the uneven results of rapid digitalization and are expected to wring more value out of those investments. At the top of that list is bringing multiple cloud and software-as-a service applications together so they can interoperate.

How Can Low-Code Help Solve CIOs’ Biggest Challenges?

High-performance low-code can address all five of these challenges–and more–so you don’t need to look for more than one solution. This type of low-code (which is only delivered by OutSystems) enables developers to create complete applications visually, using a darg-and-drop interface rather than writing thousands of lines of complex code. Consider it a buy-one-get-four-free offer.

Get off the Uncertainty Rollercoaster With High-Performance Low-Code

The OutSystems high-performance low-code platform provides your IT organization with agility, so that developers pivot to new solutions as market, economic, political, social, and world health conditions change. Plus your existing team can do more, so no new talent is needed.

Anticipate and Outpace Cyberthreats

With cyberattackers finding new ways into IT systems, your development environment and applications need special security care and feeding. Fortunately, the OutSystems platform is uniquely suited to help you get ahead of black hats.

Color Within the Budget Lines When Building Customer Experiences

With the OutSystems low-code platform, you can build tailor-made customer experiences with the resources you currently have while moving at up to 10x the speed of traditional development — without compromising on quality, security, or scalability or busting your budget

Add AI/ML to Your Applications With a Platform Powered by AI

AI-powered guidance built into OutSystems speeds development (as much as 10x) while ensuring that applications don’t break. And a range of connectors to AI and ML models makes it easier for developers to add generative AI and other capabilities to applications.

Move from Digital Transformation Spaghetti to Low-Code Lasagna

Our Integration Builder can connect enterprise systems like SAP ECC, SAP S/4HANA, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Dataverse, and Sharepoint Online in just a few clicks. Developers can also integrate existing systems using SOAP web services and REST APIs without traditional coding.

How can OutSystems meet your biggest CIO challenges? Schedule a demo to find out.