1. Elevated Need for Cybersecurity
Cybercrimes skyrocketed during the pandemic; unsecured access to the company’s data and working from home exposed vulnerabilities, and hackers were quick to take advantage of them.
A report from RiskIQ found that every single minute, cybercriminals cost the global economy $2.9 million, with a worldwide annual cost of $1.5 trillion.
Besides, cybercrimes like malware, phishing, and ransomware were most common, and the culprit could be anyone, including a hacker’s malicious intent, disgruntled employee, or merely a human mistake.
It’s no surprise then that a report by Dynamic CISO , where 168 IT and Infosec decision-makers participated, shows that:
“68% expressed they will significantly increase their spending portion on security while 21% of the enterprises will spend the same as last year.”
While cybersecurity has always been a top priority for CIOs, more robust security infrastructure is the need of the hour.
However, security should not squarely fall on the CIO’s shoulders in this new normal.
A big part of creating a secure organization is realizing that security is everyone’s responsibility, not only the IT team’s. Thus, educating teams and CEOs on the basic security practices, like avoiding spam emails, can go a long way.
Another way to ensure security is infusing cybersecurity measures at every stage of the product development lifecycle rather than keeping it as an afterthought.
That’s why CIOs need to stay abreast of the emerging threat landscape, enable employee education, secure network and systems, and conduct a routine check to ensure everything is safe.
2. Cloud Adoption
The benefits of the cloud are not unknown to the IT teams. Faster time to market, enhanced productivity, reduced IT costs, innovation, and scalability is just the tip of the iceberg. CIOs across the industry are leveraging cloud adoption to enable business processes and accelerate digital transformation. Infact, According to Wedigtech, one of the top 5 priorities of CIOs is cloud adoption and reinforcement of cloud infrastructure.
Despite this, leveraging the full potential of the cloud still remains a challenge in most organizations.
Thus, cloud adoption makes its way to the top priority list for CIOs in 2022.
One of the essential steps CIOs can take to enable successful cloud adoption is to think about the cloud as an enabler of business processes. Then, look at cloud strategy from the lens of stakeholders and business goals. Finally, acknowledging that cloud strategy looks different for every company and that no one size fits all.
This approach of putting the cloud at the center stage will enable business processes, support new and emerging business models, create a positive customer employee experience, and spread influence across the entire organization.
3. Make Data the Core of Transformation
A report by McKinsey (McKinsey Global Survey on technology and the business, 2021) shows that:
More than 60 percent of tech leaders say they are planning to scale data, analytics, and AI—more than any other tech initiative.
This shows how data is the backbone of your digital transformation. Every interaction and action generates data; it helps you drive actionable results, enhance customer experience, and forecast operations and predictions.
Another report by Forrester shows that:
“85% of those surveyed want to improve their use of data insights in their decision-making, but 91% report that improving the use of data insights in decision-making is challenging.”
While data fuels decision-making, too much data can be a distraction; thus, collecting data from on-premise, cloud, and other platforms is the priority. Then, once you have the data, it should make sense to you and fuel your business decisions.
Data governance should be built from the get-go rather than an afterthought to enable this kind of clarity. Finally, more data does not guarantee quality. Therefore, data cleansing is an essential element, and CIOs can play an instrumental role in driving effective data governance.
4. Prepare for the Hybrid Work Environment
In a report by Dynamic CISo conducted in 2021, 42% of respondents stated securing a hybrid workforce as their topmost concern.
Hybrid working is here to stay. This means employees and partners work from home and any location they seem fit. It could be a café or a hotel, and this situation brings a glaring concern: the risk of an unprotected network. Thus, it’s the onus of the CIOs to protect daily business operations like communication, accessing the company’s data and more. Finally, bring your own device (BYOD) policies should also be analyzed by the CIOs to ensure secure working in and out of the office.
5. Rethink Technology
Imagining today’s business without technology is not possible. However, there’s another side to it: merely adopting new technology for the sake of it is going to be of little or no benefit to your business.
So, instead of adopting every new technology, think about how tech can bring about a positive change in your organization and enable the transformation.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are two leading technologies that can catalyst transformation and help you achieve business objectives. In addition, predictive analytics, marketing, security, business automation, and other parts of your business can significantly benefit from the technology.
However, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to technology. Therefore, assess the company requirement, the transition, and training cost, and enable change and business processes.
6. Build a Resilient Organization
The importance of the CIO’s role in building a resilient organization is time-tested.
From enabling remote working almost overnight to securing the company data and ensuring business continuity, CIOs had the onus of enabling remote working on a thin timeline and with limited resources.
To put it simply, the resilient organization is the one that can sprout out of a disruption unaffected. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s to be resilient and ensure the business processes are disruption-proof.
That’s where the role of a CIO becomes inevitable.
CIOs must take building resilience as part of their 2022 priority lists moving forward. Since resilience will now be more important than ever, the future of work requires your organization to be resilient, and CIOs will play an instrumental role in supporting the same.
7. Embrace a People-First Culture
When talking about digital transformation, we cannot overlook the most vital element—people. After all, the people in the organization will utilize those technologies, adapt to a new culture, and learn new skills, playing an instrumental role in the change journey.
This is because the change never happens in a silo.
Even though it’s easy to overlook people, this approach must change to bring successful transformation. This is even more important in a remote work setting, where people already feel apart.
Thus, one approach could be to communicate your system and approaches clearly and get buy-ins from your team members and employees.
Finally, don’t forget to support the people as they adapt to this change with guides, training, and other support materials. Remember, empathy in training people can go a long way, and an employee who feels comfortable and supported will put their best foot forward to support your initiative.