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Modernize data to unlock value

Using front-office tech stacks to enhance the customer experience. Leveraging cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) to scale globally. Employing private and secure instances of large language models to drive productivity and fuel generative-AI-based business models. Each company has its own list of tech priorities.

But your fellow CIOs agree on one thing: Tech transformation requires a strong data foundation. You also acknowledge that data efforts, including cloud migration and the adoption of analytic and AI capabilities, can be difficult and time-consuming. In our August 2023 Pulse Survey, CIOs ranked data challenges as one of the top obstacles to successfully delivering on business model transformation.

Looking ahead

Data modernization is about more than the technology you implement. Foundational issues around governance, privacy and cybersecurity are critical to break down organizational silos and give the business an enterprise-wide view of data. You should also want to prioritize data-driven initiatives that can have a measurable impact on the customer experience, as those initiatives have a greater potential business impact.


of CIOs are prioritizing the transformation of their data platforms to drive business growth

Source: PwC Pulse Survey, August 2023

Prioritize cloud engineering

If you aren’t focused on cloud fundamentals while thinking beyond migration, you may struggle to realize the value of tech investments. That’s why cloud engineering capabilities matter. The way companies use cloud-native software development to migrate data, update infrastructure and applications, and speed up idea realization helps generate meaningful ROI.

Looking ahead

How you engage with your business C-suite peers is also key to delivering positive cloud-powered outcomes. This critical collaboration includes working with tax leaders to potentially leverage R&D credits to fund innovation, with risk leaders at the outset of a system transformation, to identify what could possibly go wrong, and with business owners, to understand how application testing and performance translates into success.


of CIOs and other executives have adopted cloud in most or all parts of their business. Yet more than half have not realized desired outcomes

Source: PwC US Cloud Business Survey, January 2023

Evolve your IT operating model

Huge expectations for technology put increasing pressure on CIOs to deliver measurable results. As companies adopt new technology-driven business changes, the IT function needs to adapt its operations to meet the growing needs for related tech skills and talent. Tech leaders are balancing in-house infrastructure, applications and specialized skills they need in house alongside those that are better procured through strategic managed services. For instance, a company with multiple ERP systems may find it more efficient and cost-effective to automate and manage application security and control monitoring as a service. This would allow them to allocate internal IT resources to cloud-native development and GenAI projects, including those aimed at accelerating the software development process.

Looking ahead

As part of IT transformation, it’s important to look inward as well. Do you have the skills to guide business strategy that a modern CIO needs? It’s critical that you regularly engage with the board to provide updates on tech strategy, cybersecurity, risk mitigation and innovation initiatives. And, to address dynamic costs like cloud management, work closely with your CFO.


of CIOs say the IT function is completely prepared to support a new business model but only 48% feel prepared as tech leaders to support these efforts

Source: PwC Pulse Survey, August 2023

Scale GenAI for new business models

As a technology leader, you’re likely playing catch-up if you aren’t spearheading GenAI strategy at your company. Central to a thorough GenAI strategy is an “AI factory” approach, which looks beyond individual use cases and applications. Such an approach considers how to effectively scale GenAI across the business by identifying and deploying common patterns, such as deep retrieval. The exponential productivity gains can be significant enough to boost short-term profits while enabling new business models — for example, hyper-personalization for every customer — that had previously been prohibitively expensive.

Looking ahead

A transformative GenAI approach is rooted in trust and integrates responsible AI from the outset, considering strategy, governance, controls and ongoing practices. It also prioritizes workforce transformation and engaging employees in the company’s transformation to redefine their own work and build new skills. Increasingly, GenAI strategies will also objectively consider sustainability impact and optimize productivity gains alongside carbon usage.


of CIOs say they expect to use GenAI to support a new business model

Source: PwC Pulse Survey, August 2023

Innovate through emerging tech

Savvy CIOs aren’t focused only on AI. They recognize the potential of combining one or more technologies to drive true innovation. For example, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT) and AI can collectively work together in a supply chain to confirm the authenticity of data, verify identities and enable secure multiparty transactions. Wherever you focus, prioritize trust. How do you develop technology and engage with customers, business partners and communities in a responsible and ethical way?

Looking ahead

In your role as an emerging tech advocate, educate your company’s other leaders, including the board, on why these projects matter and what they mean to the business now and in the future. Where it makes sense, let leaders get hands-on with proofs of concepts and experience how tech is changing the way employees or customers interact. That includes keeping an eye on seemingly exotic technologies, such as quantum computing, which is expected to begin making enterprise inroads in novel ways soon.


of survey respondents strongly agreed that their emerging tech strategy is integrated within the company’s business strategy

Source: PwC Emerging Tech Survey, November 2023

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