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Aternity 2021 Predictions: The Rise of the Chief Experience Officer (CExO)

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

The Rise of the Chief Experience Officer (CExO)

By Fernando Castanheira, Chief Information Officer at Aternity

According to survey data collected during Aternity's Digital Experience Now event in October 2020, 93.4% of respondents said they plan to make remote work permanent or adopt a hybrid workplace going forward. This suggests that IT and business decision-makers need to prepare for a long-term work-from-everywhere model.

The immediate shift to remote work in March forced digital transformation efforts into hyper speed. CIOs and IT teams were tasked with making sure employees could still do their jobs effectively while remote, with little time to prepare. New applications and technologies are still being rolled out on a consistent basis to make the remote work experience seamless.

These impactful technology investments made in 2020 will be here to stay through 2021 and beyond to help employees be more productive, remain engaged, and collaborate easily with their colleagues no matter where they are located.

The shift has forced IT leaders to evolve from simply "keeping the lights on" to understanding how technical issues and application performance impact the productivity and satisfaction of their employees. They now must implement strategies aimed at empowering workers to be more productive by limiting disruptions, avoiding subpar application performance, or any other technological distractions that hurt engagement and prevent work from being done. While the shift was sudden, this evolution towards employee experience was already in the works as employees won't accept anything less than perfection when it comes to the digital workplace.

While workers will eventually head back into the office, remote work and hybrid work models are here to stay. This environment makes it incredibly important for business leaders to fully understand the performance of employees' digital workplaces. Organizations must know whether business-critical applications and supporting infrastructure are performing optimally and, if not, what steps must be taken to repair them. In addition, the enterprise's ability to handle disruption to its digital workforce has become a new critical measure for its business continuity and resilience.

Because of the importance of the digital workplace to corporate vitality, a new set of roles will need to be formed in the enterprise across HR and IT departments to ensure organizations consistently deliver exceptional digital experiences in 2021. The most prominent role that will emerge will be the Chief Experience officer (CExO). This role will work to guarantee that digital experiences for employees and customers are meeting the high expectations both parties have, as well as those set by the business.

To integrate this role effectively, CIOs and IT leaders should first make the Chief Experience officer a member of their digital transformation teams. By placing a strategic focus on the employee experience, enterprises will be able to better understand the impact and ROI of all IT investments (both new and old). The CExO's advocacy role will help organization go beyond just rolling out new technologies to uncovering insights into how people actually use applications and whether technology is inhibiting workers from performing optimally.

Two decades ago, we saw the rise of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). This role quickly became the new deputy to the CIO to ensure business resiliency in the wake of persistent cybersecurity threats. The same situation will emerge around employee experience. The CExO will emerge as an immediate response to the dramatic shift in the enterprise in order to empower the ever-evolving digital workplace and enterprise to maintain robust productivity and make meaningful contributions to the business.

The CexO role has the potential to become mainstream in 2021 because enterprises must drive exceptional employee and customer experiences that support business resiliency, employee productivity, and overall company success. The impact these leaders can have on both the short-term and for the future of work cannot be overstated. In the future, CExOs will bridge the gap between IT and employees to ensure business runs smoothly in the ‘next normal.'

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About the Author

Fernando Castanheira 

Fernando is a senior technology executive with extensive leadership experience across infrastructure and software engineering functions. Fernando brings to Aternity a blend of digital innovation at scale, transformational leadership and high growth strategies.  Fernando will be responsible for all aspects of IT including; digital transformation, IT Security, Cyber security and all business and productivity platforms.

Previously Fernando served as a Managing Director and CTO at JPMorgan Chase for over the last 20 years. Fernando led various organizations with high impact roles at large scale with focus on digital transformations, increasing efficiencies and reliability, improved productivity and security. Fernando has built and led large organizations with specific focus in Digital Workplace Technologies, End User Services, Multimedia/Telecom,  and Corporate Technology functions.

Fernando earned a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from NJCU and a Masters in Technology Management from Stevens Institute of Technology.

Published Wednesday, December 16, 2020 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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