4 New Year's Resolutions CIOs Should Make for 2017

Here at the beginning of the year, it's easy to poke fun at resolutions — like when you see the onslaught of newbies at your local gym. But there is something about this time of year that makes people want to be better versions of themselves over the next 12 months.

Two men and a woman sit at a table for a meeting.
If your New Year's resolutions involve breaking down silos, invite other teams to your meetings.

However, some resolutions tend to be too vague or predictable to make a meaningful difference in both personal or professional lives. So, instead of resolving to be a better leader in your CIO role or to be more organized, consider adding these four tangible New Year's resolutions to your list:

1. Focus on the Integration of Technology and Marketing

You will only have a job as a CIO if your company makes money. And the way that you make money is to have effective marketing. However, the most sophisticated and effective marketing tactics these days are supported by technology that it to the next level through data analytics, automation, and even augmented or virtual reality.

Yet no matter how brilliant your marketing department is, it likely does not have the skill set to do everything on its own. By bringing ideas to the marketing department about how it uses technology to learn more about customers, your entire company will win.

2. Integrate Technology and Advanced Features into Your Business Communications System

Phones are no longer just for calls. If your employees still view them this way, you're really limiting the productivity of your company. A great step this year would be to change your company's mindset from that of a telephone system to a communications system. Follow this with a to-do list that may include adding video conferencing, call recording, visual voicemail and many other features to your company's communication system.

3. Reduce Silos and Create Cross-Functional Teams

Your IT department used to be separate. And back then, people mainly cared about IT when something didn't work. However, these days, nearly every business function includes IT, as nearly everything your department does affects others in the company. It often only takes one C-level employee to change the mindset of a whole company, which will likely dramatically affect customer satisfaction, productivity, and the quality of your products and services.

When your team has meetings, start inviting other departments whose skills can improve your projects. On the flip side, strongly encourage other departments to include IT in their projects from the beginning, not as an afterthought — as much as people love going a meeting to recap what happened at another meeting. It often only takes a project or two for everyone to realize the benefits of having cross-functional teams from kickoff to launch to make a permanent change.

4. Enable Employees to Work On-the-Go

When your customers take the time to contact you, they assume your employees have the technology to respond right away. Companies that delay responding to potential customers and assisting current customers can end up losing business to others that have quicker response rates by letting their employees work on-the-go. By providing technology that lets your employees answer emails and phone calls from whatever location works for them, you'll make your employees and your customers happier.

That's the essence of technology-driven unified communications, which allows employees to have one user profile that sends texts, emails, or phone calls to whatever device they happen to be working on. Because employees often log in after hours, you can increase productivity with virtual desktops that give them the exact same access and tools that they have at work. Team members can use mobile devices to perform the same functions, regardless of whether they're in a motel in South Dakota before a business meeting or waiting for their bus to weave its way through rush-hour traffic.

By taking the time to develop actionable New Year's resolutions that will truly make a difference for your company, you can improve both your standing in your company and your company's standing in the market.

For more information on how to start 2017 on a roll, contact a Vonage Business representative.

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