2021 brought forth a lot of disruption. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. To succeed in the so called ‘New Normal’, everyone will need a new playbook. Same is true for all CIOs. The pandemic era has led to major disruptions for the businesses due to new business models, technologies and regulatory changes.
The last two years changed everything dramatically– customer demands, production strategies, supply chain, work environment, wages, the physical and mental health of workers, and productivity. There has been tremendous pressure on companies to run their businesses effectively while restructuring their operating environments.
In 2022, there is still no respite from COVID or its variants. In the light of various considerations like employee safety, cybersecurity and customer expectations for quick service delivery, CIOs in most organizations are busy preparing their organizations for the new ‘hybrid’ business model which we will see as the new normal now.
According to Spiceworks Ziff Davis’ 2022 State of IT report, a lot of companies (more than 50%) are planning to raise their IT spending in one year. The CIOs (as stated by 65% of CIOs) will have -Technology Empowerment, Agility, Collaboration, and Resilience – on their priority list. What more?
In this article, we’ve identified some areas which will be the top priorities of CIOs in 2022. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at them:
Top Priorities of CIOs in 2022
We are sure, all CIOs have created innovative strategies for 2022. While one can put a lot on the list of things to achieve, strategic CIOs should focus on these areas which we think will be the top priorities this year.
Priority #1: Cybersecurity and Cyber-Physical Systems
Security and compliance functions, which were earlier considered as time-consuming processes, are now considered essential. Of course, cybersecurity should be at the core of all systems’ design process.
Security has always been among the top priorities of CIOs. In 2022 as well, we can expect the same as during pandemic, the security risk to organizations has increased and in response to this, most of the companies are adopting new cybersecurity practices.
Approach 1: Using AI/ML-based cybersecurity tools.
Most organizations believe that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools can support the goals of cybersecurity. As per The Economist, more than 50% of executives in the United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific think AI & ML based security solutions can be best deployed to counter nation-wide cyber-attacks. AI and ML based solutions have the ability to identify risks at great speed, helping organizations respond quickly to new cyber-attacks.
Approach 2: Safeguarding cyber-physical systems.
Cyber-physical systems (CPS) have gained popularity due to the need for system automation. These systems process critical information, manage and improve physical outcomes – from simple processes to complex ecosystems. Used in mission-critical environments, CPS are also integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT) where extensive security is needed. Since they are the core components of a safety-critical environment and are the main target of cyber-attacks, the security of these systems is much needed.
In 2022, the security of cyber-physical systems is going to be one of the main priorities of CIOs. A report by Gartner has stated that by 2023, the majority of organizations (75%) will restructure risk and security governance to deal with new cyber-physical systems (CPS) and converged IT.
To protect CPS and IoT devices, CIOs may consider outlier detection and intrusion detection systems and advanced security solutions to improve device-level security management.
Priority #2: Advanced Cloud Computing Implementation
Cloud computing is gaining more value than ever as businesses shift to remote and hybrid work environments. It has extended into every locale through specialized and purpose-built solutions.
In 2022, we will see these solutions transforming every business type – from retail to farms, finance to IT. Implementation of modern cloud solutions will be in the list of top priorities of CIOs this year. It will help them provide advantages of scalability, speed, and flexibility. Mainly, they need to think about how to scale their operating model that will help them to create value that lasts.
Gartner analysts say that over 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by the year 2025.
Priority #3: Modern Data Analytics
The main reason why CIOs are looking towards data analytics is to improve their performance. Data volume is growing fast and the more it grows, better are the chances of improving performance with increased insights.
Hence, CIOs are favouring data analytics – helped by modern technologies – to support businesses in pulling critical information from massive amounts of data.
There are cloud-based data analytics tools as well that will assuredly gain traction this year. We think that by adopting the right data strategy, CIOs can manage larger and complex projects
Priority #4: Upgraded Collaboration Technologies
Collaboration was the biggest challenge for CIOs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Back then, most of the organizations (72%) were looking for the upgradation or modernization of collaboration technology.
During a span of two years, many service providers have added great functionalities in their collaboration platforms to help companies manage both remote and in-office workforce. As companies plan for the hybrid workforce of the future, we will see more tools and technologies to make the collaboration part smooth and efficient. We are already seeing new tools that are based on machine learning and AI that provide better camera experiences during video calls, noise reduction filtering/smoothing and advanced audio, and sound dynamics technology. These tools can also identify and alert employees of a problem even before they know about it. Such functionalities were much needed. We’re expecting more innovations in collaboration or communication tools this year.
Priority #5: Productivity Improvements
Before IT leaders design their long-term hybrid or remote working model, they must develop a technology infrastructure that overall helps them to improve the productivity of their employees, no matter where they work from.
CIOs this year will leverage more all-in-one solutions that will help them arm the organization with an ideal solution that can perform active monitoring of employees, time tracing, sending meeting requests, document management, provide multiple views in the processes, and more.
Priority #6: Future-Facing Business
The past two years taught many companies how important it is to invest time, money, and resources into business continuity planning (BCP). According to a report published by the Business Continuity Institute (BCI), named, The Future of Business Continuity and Resilience (2021), 79% of respondents said that the appreciation of resilience increased in their company due to the pandemic. Many business leaders have realized how impactful a solid plan can be for any business.
In 2022, it is going to be a bumpy road for businesses with the emergence of the highly transmissible Omicron variant. So, CIOs must prioritize business continuity by focusing on IT operations so that when things go out of control, their efforts don’t get wasted.
There are back-to-back changes going on in customer demands, supply chains, and routes to the market, and so, the focus will be needed in multiple areas, for example, improving organizational capabilities via tech training, innovations in products and services, improving cost, speed, and reducing unnecessary technical debts.
Priority #7: Skilling or Finding Tech Talent
The next among the priorities of CIOs is skilling or finding new tech talents. We have all heard about the dearth of skilled people in the IT field, especially advanced technologies and cybersecurity. So, CIOs need to perform skills assessments. According to a research by Mckinsey, transforming talent strategy can be a valuable move that organizations can make.
During the pandemic, the issue has been intensified due to changes in the working environment, as work from a remote location has made it a bit difficult in upskilling and or in reaching out to the right talent.
CIOs need to design their talent strategy by creating the right culture within the organization that delights their existing IT and DevOps teams, keeps them interested, and attracts the right potential candidates.
Priority #8: Advanced Technologies and Automation
Employees do a lot of tedious, repetitive tasks every day – which overall delays the delivery of work. To improve it, CIOs are going to focus more on automation in 2022. Technologies like AI, ML, IoT, robotic process automation (RPA) can help people engage in more meaningful, strategic, and critical work, while automating the redundant work.
AI has become the core of many organizations’ data analytics and automation strategy. It helps automate processes and bring personalization across all platforms for customers and employees. We might see more investments in AI/ML-based tools in 2022 – from fraud detection to risk management, market analysis to HR management, as well as systems that help in decision making.
Priority #9: Sustainable Architecture
During the COVID-19 crisis, sustainability is something the businesses has struggled with the most. In 2022, CIOs need to make sustainability goals before they choose a system or build an application. Robust cloud architectures are needed that can fulfil the needs of the end-users and are optimized for factors like cost, performance, reliability, and security.
Priority #10: Intense Focus on Customer Experience
“There is only one boss. The customer.” – Sam Walton, Founder, Walmart.
In 2022, customer experience (CX) will revolve around personalized, individualized, and authentic service that allows companies to scale their business in a way that’s profitable and long-lasting. While there are many factors that CX is based upon, especially the industry type, competitive levels, or technology maturity, but by developing the right CX strategy by prioritizing customer needs through advanced technologies, such as CRM tools, CIOs will help organizations win over their competitors in 2022.
For this, CIOs need to treat tech literacy as more important than any other thing across their business. Training existing employees can help them solve customer issues using the tech.
To succeed in a business, CIOs too need different skillsets to help businesses manage digital disruption. In the process of this transformation, IT leaders are going to face many challenges as they change their business strategy. They will have to consider different routes many times and move in directions that may look strange, but business requires them to do so.
This blog post is for those who are looking to stay ahead of the curve and want to learn more about what CIOs will be focused on in 2022. CIOs by addressing these ten areas, will be the key drivers of success of their organization in 2022.
We hope you enjoyed reading these insights as much as we enjoyed compiling them! 🙂