CIOs face new responsibilities and challenges as new technology emerges in the digital landscape.

Tto become a successful CIO, digital leaders have to adapt to technological changes and recognise the new products and services that could help their organisation. They need to convince the C-suite to take these ideas on board in order to get ahead of competitors. CIO UK looks at the challenges a CIO faces with emerging tech, and how succesful businesses can embrace change. (Read more: Evolution of the CIO - From IT gatekeeper strategic business leader.)

Challenges for CIOs: Grow digital revenues

The role of the CIO has seen succesful digital leaders move from the back-office in IT to the forefront of the organisation's strategy. Technology as a business enabler has increased drastically the IT department's role in supporting the business strategy. A 2016 Gartner survey showed some of the pressures CIOs were under, suggesting that on average they were expecting to grow digital revenues from 16% to 37%. It is great that the outlook is so bullish, but this is a challenge in any business.

Challenges for CIOs: Crossing the skills gap

In trying to hit these targets, CIOs are dipping into a shallow talent pool. The 2016 Harvey Nash survey suggested that 65% of businesses are struggling with a lack of talent, and this is preventing them from keeping up with new technologies.

This perceived lack of skills and resources represents a big challenge for CIOs in achieving their objectives. You can have the vision, but you need everyone in the organisation for implementation. 

2016 CIO 100 member Alan Crawford, CIO at Action for Children, is currently rolling out 2,000 tablets across his organisation, enabling staff to be more mobile and therefore more efficient with their time. The project has faced challenges, mainly in the amount of time spent training staff in getting the most from the new technology.

Crawford told us that the organisation faced 'cultural challenges' in persuading staff to use their tablets. But stressed that moving from the previously used paper and pen method to a more efficient digital model "will change the lives of the children they visit".

Action for Children's staff would previously take up to three visits to one family to gather the information needed, having to go back to the office to work long hours, transcribing information to a desktop PC.

Crawford said: "The staff can now move away from the office and connect on the go. There is also an option available for the staff to work offline." But first the staff have to understand the benefits and be able to use their devices. 

TO facilitate this CIOs must attempt to step into their customer's shoes, geting an understanding of the business, and experience the customer service and the experience of internal customers. (See also: How to become a CIO: 17 essential IT career tips for getting a CIO job.)

Challenges for CIOs: Demand from customers

The modern CIO's focus has shifted away from IT and into using digital to deliver a good experience. Customers increasingly demand a seamless and delightful experience from businesses, and CIOs have to drive change within their organisations to make this happen.

2016 CIO 100 member Bill Wilkins, CIO of First Utility, is currently rolling out smart meters to the energy company's customers in the UK. The project has long been a goal for First Utility, aimed at driving forward its relationship with consumers, and offering a full service to its users through the various platforms they already use.

Willkins told us: "The smart meter system is compatible and can accommodate older people, in giving a chance for the customer to still pick up the phone and speak to a team member. The various platforms will allow customers to submit reading through SMS, the website and camera phone all while the app is running." Thus the energy provider is still catering for all the customer profiles, whilst reinventing itself for more digitally savvy consumers.

An interactive world has remained a challenge for a CIO to deliver the latest products and services to customers, in meeting their on-demand expectations. (Read next: CIO job tips: Improve your CV | How any CIO can improve their CV.)