IT leadership: 3 ways to thrive during disruption

As organizations move beyond pandemic-related disruption and embrace the next phase of digital transformation, consider these three key areas to build a future-focused strategy
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IT leadership lessons

The way companies approach IT infrastructure, workplace configuration, and enterprise architecture is shifting. CIOs and IT leaders need to be ready to effectively support their organizations as digital transformation strategies evolve and business disruption continues.

Here are three primary areas where change is likely to occur, along with some ways to position your team for success in the coming months.

1. Embracing cloud technologies

Using cloud technologies to simplify business processes is shaping up to be the top trend of 2022, so CIOs and IT leaders who embrace this concept early will be ahead of the curve. CIOs can drive operational agility and flexibility across the organization (rather than at the department level) by working with cloud vendors that facilitate end-to-end process efficiency.

[ Read also: Hybrid cloud: 4 trends to watch in 2022 ]

2. Using data and simplifying business processes

Be proactive by reviewing end-to-end business processes and assessing the current state against where your business needs to be to succeed in the months and years ahead. The pandemic underscored the importance of data and the need to simplify business processes when disruption has become the norm, but those imperatives won’t go away when the pandemic recedes – on the contrary, they’ll become more critical than ever.

[ Also read: IT leadership: 4 ways to lead digital maturity. ]

That’s because cloud maturity is driving the commoditization of infrastructure, meaning organizations that generate profits by running IT infrastructure are turning instead to managing business processes using tools and dataflow within the organization. Data will enable your organization to address this and other trends caused by market disruptions. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, which experienced a dramatic uptick in adoption during the pandemic, will make it easier for your company to extract value from data, analyze user behavior to refine decision-making, and increase agility.

3. Focusing on IT talent retention

The IT talent shortage isn’t new, but IT executives increasingly identify it as a barrier to adopting the advanced technologies their companies need to compete and win in a changing economy. A Gartner survey published last fall found that IT executives rated the talent shortage ahead of security concerns and implementation costs as an obstacle to adopting emerging technologies.

There’s no quick fix – it will take time for the supply of skills to meet higher levels of demand. But in the meantime, focus on retaining the people you have to make sure the company can support new technology adoption. A culture that focuses on agility and flat workplace hierarchies can help organizations retain their most valuable people.

The coming year will be pivotal because, in a sense, digital transformation will begin in earnest. The pandemic advanced a process that has been underway for years, and now businesses are moving beyond the digitization phase and beginning to embrace true transformation, which will require cutting-edge business analytics and data.

As the engine for business transformation, IT will play a make-or-break role in every organization’s transformation journey. Companies will need CIOs and IT leaders to step up and proactively chart a new path to success. In 2022, IT executives who embrace cloud technologies to simplify business processes, assess end-to-end business processes to ensure they support the agility needed to overcome business disruption, and take steps to retain key talent will position their companies for growth in the years ahead.

[Where is your team's digital transformation work stalling? Get the eBook: What's slowing down your Digital Transformation? 8 questions to ask.]

Shiv Gopalan has held the CIO role at global software company Unit4 since 2016. His focus has been on digital cloud transformation and introducing new technologies to improve the people experience for Unit4’s own people, as well as the customer experience Unit4 delivers. Shiv has diverse experience in IT Service Delivery, Change Management and Consulting.

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