IT leadership for the next normal: New HBR Analytic Services report

New research identifies four key areas CIOs should focus on as they help design and build organizations poised to prosper moving forward
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cover of IT Leadership Rules for the Next Normal report

The COVID-19 pandemic reset business expectations in a monumental way – and elevated the role of CIOs who led strong responses to the immediate crisis. Those CIOs now find themselves with amplified influence, according to new research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. 

CIOs and IT organizations now “have a unique opportunity to drive change in the next normal,” according to the research, available today: “IT Leadership in the Next Normal: Four Priorities for CIO Success.” [Click to Tweet]

The crisis, for all of its challenges, shattered previous notions of what was and wasn't possible, liberating CIOs to do things in new ways.

“The crisis, for all of its challenges, shattered previous notions of what was and wasn’t possible, liberating CIOs to do things in new ways. Organizations in general, and CIOs specifically, are operating under new rules for the next normal,” the report states. 

The report identifies four key areas CIOs should focus on as they help design and build organizations poised to prosper moving forward. The report examines the CIO’s influence in:

  • Reimagining and building their organization’s digital business

  • Creating faster, more agile operating models 

  • Developing the blended physical and digital workplace of the future

  • Building a culture that supports the new blended workplace


The report also includes real-world examples from CIOs and IT executives who are swiftly adapting to these realities at companies including Johnson & Johnson, Equifax, Abbott, Toyota Financial Services, Adobe, Qualcomm, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and more. Together, these leaders offer 10 new rules for leading in the next normal. Among the takeaways: 

  • Find out the leadership traits Equifax CTO Bryson Koehler and Qualcomm CIO Mary Gendron say are most needed to lead now. 

  • Discover how Johnson & Johnson CIO Jim Swanson is embracing a coaching role to position the global healthcare company’s digital strategy for success during the next normal. 

  • Learn why Toyota Financial Services CIO Vipin Gupta says CIOs are now “the builders of the enterprise” – and  how his organization shrunk its digital transformation timeline from 10 years to three to five years and created a new private-label business at the height of the pandemic.

  • Learn the key tactics Adobe CIO Cynthia Stoddard and Abbott CIO Sabina Ewing have used to enhance employee experience. 


Download the full report: “IT Leadership in the Next Normal: Four Priorities for CIO Success.” 

As community manager for The Enterprisers Project, Ginny Hamilton helps build the site's community of CIOs, IT leaders, and readers. She is responsible for helping tell the stories of leading IT executives – showcasing the projects, experiences, and challenges they're facing in their roles as IT leaders.

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