We’re now a couple of months into 2022, but there’s no limit on the power of hindsight to improve business strategy for the present. Last year’s events and trends had a lot to teach CIOs, IT professionals, and the tech industry at large. Digital transformation and the pandemic continue to shake up the business world, and IT leaders have been heavily involved in the shift.
Read on for several standout takeaways from 2021 that CIOs can leverage to accomplish even more in 2022.
1. Unpredictability is the State of the Foreseeable Future: Flexibility Is Key
CIOs had a front-row seat to the rapid digital transformation over the last couple of years. Evolving technology, changing workplace expectations, and the pandemic certainly necessitated more tech and digital solutions to support remote and hybrid work.
IT leaders and their teams are already aware that they need to be prepared for significant pivots, but unpredictability is solidifying as the norm for the foreseeable future. Companies will separate themselves by their ability to adapt. CIOs should create more flexible, adaptable teams that can implement new tech or come up with digital solutions quickly. This flexibility will be a vital part of the strategy going forward.
2. Expanding Teams: Hiring IT Professionals is Critical
In light of digital transformation and the shift to working remotely, IT teams must assist with implementing new tech and maintaining the growing number of tech solutions necessary for the future. Therefore, the demand for IT professionals has risen. According to Forbes, the postings for IT Project Manager jobs grew 45% from December 2020 to December 2021.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2022, CIOs should work with HR and recruitment to expand their teams to best support their organization as a whole.
3. Security Measures Require Reassessment After the Shift to Remote Work
As the nature of work has changed and once-new digital tools become necessary for office functions, CIOs and IT teams should consider reassessing their security strategies. Cyberattacks have increased in the last year, due in part to remote work and the higher number of devices accessing company tools and data. According to the 2021 Global Threat Intelligence Report, remote work led to a dramatic increase in attacks across all industries, accounting for 67% of all attacks, up from 55% in 2019 and 32% in 2018.
There are several things CIOs can do, like updating security policies, using SASE (Secure Access Service Edge), and adopting a zero-trust approach. Citrix CIO Meerah Rajavel shares thoughts for fellow IT leaders: “Hybrid work has opened the door to a whole new set of security concerns, and traditional strategies need to be rethought. We’ve also given security a fresh look. Threat actors and the attacks they’re launching have become much more sophisticated. And to combat them, we’ve integrated security across our operations using frameworks like [zero trust network access] and practices like DevSecOps that ease friction and keep systems and information secure without frustrating users and hampering their experience.”
4. IT Teams Can Be Advocates and Teachers for Their Organizations
IT teams have always been responsible for ensuring computer and digital systems are running optimally. Now, there are more tools to manage, including things like unified communications & messaging, learning management systems, ITSM software, fintech solutions, and project management platforms.
So how can CIOs and their teams be advocates for their fellow employees? Firstly, they must be proactive in choosing the best technological solution and offer strategic advice on what tech works best. Secondly, IT departments bear the responsibility to prevent technical hiccups, and they must respond quickly to solve any issues if they do occur.
Finally, IT professionals served as educators in 2021. With many new systems to set up, IT departments were necessary to help train employees on how to use new tools properly and answer questions. Going forward, CIOs should consider elevating a training and education program to empower their entire organization.
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