Any time is a good time to take a fresh look at your business–and technology–initiatives. So why not now? It’s the perfect opportunity for innovation and renewal, getting existing projects back on track and defining your IT resolutions.

To get you going, I’ve identified four technology commitments that can help CIOs truly lead innovation and impact business growth, positioning the entire organization for success.

1. Modernize Your Infrastructure – Like a bad habit, leave behind aging systems. Modern businesses need technology that adapts and grows with your organizations. Sure, this can be a complex, costly undertaking, but so can maintaining outdated custom applications and systems that leave your company at risk and users in the lurch.

Instead, resolve to more closely examine what’s delivering from a technology standpoint and flag what’s not performing or is simply costing too much to maintain–either from a resource or financial perspective. Software or hardware that’s no longer supported or receiving regular security updates can place both the system and the entire enterprise at risk.

2. Make Security a Priority – A benefit of an updated, more agile infrastructure is one that’s potentially more secure. Cybersecurity was at the top of everyone’s list for 2016, and that won’t be changing in 2017 or beyond. In fact, analysts predict IT security spending will top $100 billion by 2018. Protecting your data and networks from intrusion begins with investing in world-class hardware and software that mitigates risk.

While technology is a great defense, don’t discount the role of human error–it has ranked in the top two reasons for security breaches in 2015 and 2016. All it takes is one errant click from an employee to send the entire system into a tailspin and put company–and customer–data at risk. Prioritize cybersecurity training for all employees and make it a part of every conversation, particularly as more devices continue to come online. CIOs should also devote time to changing processes and training to ensure employees are up-to-date on the latest company policies.

3. Think Collaboration – Enterprises are making the shift to implementing tools that make working together as a team and sharing information easier and more intuitive. This rise in collaboration technology helps simplify and streamline real-time communications, erases physical boundaries among teams, reduces operational costs, and enables a more mobile workforce.

Collaboration technology is also an asset to CIOs, IT departments and managers seeking to increase adoption of new technologies or policies. Training employees via video and web conferencing, smart whiteboards, and digital team workspaces among other features can jumpstart worker productivity and enable them to hit the ground running with new solutions.

4. Define Your Cloud Strategy – IDC estimates that spending on cloud IT infrastructure will reach $53.1 billion by 2019, accounting for 46 percent of total enterprise IT infrastructure expenditures. When faced with numbers like these, it’s even more difficult to believe that many companies still don’t have a firm cloud strategy in place.

Embracing the cloud doesn’t require an “all or nothing” approach. With hybrid cloud configurations, you get the best of both private, on-premise and highly secure public cloud solutions. Know what works best for your organization, and create a strategy. The strategy will evolve and change, but put pen to paper for a clearer path to digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and other business benefits that on-demand cloud computing delivers.

While the IT landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, these commitments can help prepare your organization for what might lie ahead and lay the foundation for a successful 2017 and beyond.

Meanwhile, stay connected to the latest business insights with Connected Futures, Cisco’s guide to industry innovation news and articles designed to keep you at the top of your technology game.



Erin Hatfield

Global Industries Integrated Marketing Manager

Cisco Meraki