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If the pandemic were a story, the moral of the story would be this: enhanced CIO responsibilities, heightened need for a resilient organization, and much-needed digital transformation.

Digital transformation (DX) was close to a buzzword a few years back. But, then, the onset of the pandemic accelerated the need for companies to be digitally transformed. Not only this, but the responsibilities of CIOs have drastically shifted.

Amidst the chaotic work from home scenario, the CIOs ensured everyone, including employees and partners, was well equipped to do their job while also ensuring business security. CIOs shouldered not only their existing responsibilities but also wore the hat of a business partner. Thus, today’s CIO is not merely working with technology and ensuring security, but they’re enabling critical business processes with technology.

Therefore, with CIOs emerging as business partners and acting as change agents to lead digital transformation, let’s look at some of the top priorities and tips for CIOs that will enable successful transformation and achieve business goals in 2022.

Top Priorities for CIOs in 2022

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.

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Digital Transformation Tips For CIOs

Any change is difficult. And when it comes to DX, it’s a whole different story. It’s not only about adopting new technology but about cultural change, behavior, roles, and the adoption of new skills.


While DX has numerous benefits, one of them is gaining an edge in business.
While the implementation can be complex, it’s even harder for CIOs because you have to keep an eye on the current IT infrastructure and have to pave the path for the business.
So here are a few tips for CIOs leading through change and emerging as a DX change agent:


1. Embrace change. Whether the duty has been passed to you or you’re stepping up for the partnership role, embracing the change wholeheartedly is integral.


2. There is no one definition of digital transformation. DX is all about adopting new technologies after analyzing the gap in the business and executing them in a manner that brings positive changes to the organization. Therefore, define what DX means to your organization and what change it can get.

3. There has never been a better time in history for CIOs to step up as change agents and wear the hat of a business partner. While this change comes with a bundle of uncertainties, the role of CIOs will be changed for the better and positively influence the whole organization. Thus, accepting change and mastering new skills will help you win.


4. Every change takes time, and hiccups with every new situation are inevitable. Thus, instead of letting roadblocks take over your transformation ambition, treat them as lessons and re-strategize to avoid the same in the future.


5. Your employees and team members can be your biggest strength. The key is to impart an empathetic approach and keep a people-first mindset.

Wrapping Up

If we see a silver lining in the pandemic, it's the elevated role of the CIOs. And, this blog listed the top 7 priorities for CIOs to bring digital transformation to their organization. A word of advice here would be to take a step-by-step approach, analyze what works and what doesn’t, and re-strategize accordingly.

Finally, as we’ve seen in this blog, hybrid working is here to stay and people play an important role in bringing in change. Therefore, akin to any change, realize that this shift includes changes in skills, adoption of new technology, and taking a people-first approach.

Finally, remember that DX is not a one-and-done activity. Instead, it's a shift in business process and mindset to enable a digital-first organization that’s ready to embrace new opportunities, expand its operation, and scale.
ETL (extract, transform, load) is a type of data integration process of moving raw data from multiple sources and loading it into a centralized data warehouse. This is a vital component in making the data analysis ready to have aRead More

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