As we contemplate a new year, it’s always helpful to take stock of how we got to where we are now. In short, 2021 was another year of uncertainty for most of us. Back in January 2021, we thought life would soon ‘return to normal’ after so long of the pandemic-driven uncertainty that dominated 2020. While we have seen some improvement on an often temporary basis, living and working still hasn’t returned in the form of what used to be.
Throughout 2021, our home and working lives continued to adapt to the pandemic. Where possible remote working remains the preferred model today and some kind of hybrid working model (part home, part office) appears to be the most likely future of work for many. Through massive change in 2020 and 2021, the Information Technology sector stepped up and adjusted to the needs of a distributed workforce with a reasonable degree of success.
According to our new 2022 IT Priorities Report which studied the changing role and expectations of today’s IT leaders, 90% say their organization is able to deal with the challenges of hybrid work efficiently and effectively. But what comes next?
At the time of the year when predictions are popular, the work we have done at Snow has allowed us to make a few of our own. Each is rooted in this new landscape and may help you fine-tune your focus.
1. Digital transformation efforts have grown in importance, but CIO’s must focus on the joint priorities of improving customer experience and fostering better data for decision making
The pandemic led to increased efforts on digital transformation, whether that was growth in e-commerce, the switch of paper to digital processes or the wholesale replacement of legacy systems. However, in 2022 there will be more focus on improving the customer experience as an attempt to differentiate from competitors and leverage this advantage. Increased digitalization will also generate far more data than organizations had from paper which has the potential to enable faster and accurate decision making in 2022.
2. Make use of the increased reliance on IT to drive further innovation and make use of the increased willingness to change
While remote work isn’t new, the pandemic greatly accelerated its adoption. Had CIOs suggested such a dramatic change to this working style pre-pandemic, they likely would have been rejected. But today, there is a real willingness to innovate, and IT professionals can take hold of this new appetite for change in 2022 to make further progress. On the vendor side, we will see more companies launch new features tailored to improving hybrid work experiences addressing the challenges of office-based staff collaborating with those who are working remotely.
3. Adopt new technologies to improve day-to-day operations and train staff with new skills to support them
IT cost reduction was of utmost importance last year as organizations worked to navigate the disrupted economy. In 2022, we will see a heightened appetite for adding emerging technologies (such as IoT, hybrid cloud and AI according to the study) and therefore, there will be an increased need for skills required to manage their success. Companies will seek employees skilled in AI and machine learning, containerization, cybersecurity and DevOps but given these are in short supplying in the market, training current staff will be crucial.
4. IT can have an impact on sustainability initiatives and it is vital that advancements be made
As new regulations arrive on legislative agendas around the world to combat the damaging effects of growing electronic waste, CIOs (and other c-suite members) are best advised to pay attention to this challenge. 2022 will see added emphasis on green computing with the vast majority of IT leaders saying it is a rising organizational IT priority, whilst accepting that their company must do a better job at driving responsible sustainability initiatives.
The last couple of years have brought unprecedented change for everyone, but especially to the Information Technology sector which has risen to meet the challenge. In the new year, leaders now have an opportunity to build on the important lessons they have learned.
As technology estates continue to evolve and multiply, it will be increasingly important for IT leaders to understand what assets they have and how they are being used. Comprehensive technology intelligence, or full visibility into their current technology investments, greatly assist the ability to make informed data-driven decisions, draw up future priorities and fuel further innovation. The best intelligence platforms also provide key control measures for managing sprawl, allowing full oversight of the evolving estate and ensure that it is as secure as possible.