What do top IT executives want?
To get an answer, Info-Tech Research Group recently surveyed 475 IT decisionmakers, including 123 C-level exes, in 14 countries across 16 industries.
The tech research and advisory company also solicited additional insights from top IT execs at Allianz, CrossCountry Mortgage, CVS Health and Harvard Business School.
Here, according to the ITRG survey report, are the top 5 priorities of CIOs for this year:
1. Reduce friction in hybrid operations
While some workers are returning to the office, many others continue to work from home. CIOs seek solutions that create equity between these two groups. They want collaboration to be a joy, not a pain.
They also know hybrid work isn’t going away. Three in four respondents to the survey said their organizations have implemented hybrid work policies.
To cope, many organizations now use web conferencing, instant messaging and document collaboration. But even these approaches are falling short.
What else is needed? According to respondents: more connections among workers, and new standards for mediated collaboration.
“I want to create experiences that are sticky,” said Elizabeth Clark, CIO of Harvard Business School, “and that keep people coming back and engaging with their colleagues.”
2. Improve ransomware readiness
Ransomware isn’t going away, either. Instead of prevention, the new goal is to first mitigate the damage of any intrusion. Then make the subsequent recovery as painless as possible.
Today, the most popular ways to prepare for a ransomware attack are:
> Creating offline backups: cited by 25% of respondents
> Implementing new anti-ransomware technology: 19%
> Buying cyber-insurance: 18%
Other recommended approaches include: doing a business-impact analysis, engaging a partner for 24x7 monitoring, and reviewing identity and access-management (IAM) policies.
3. Boost employee retention
The “great resignation” is affecting IT groups, too, and for several reasons.
For one, tech skills are easily transferrable. For another, some skills, such as data analytics, are in high demand. That means workers can often make more money — sometimes much more — by changing jobs.
CIOs realize they need to do more to retain workers. That could include offering clear career paths, providing opportunities for training, and giving concrete feedback.
Money matters, too. In a talent-based subset of the survey, respondents were asked for the top reasons why IT workers resigned in the last year. Nearly 6 in 10 said it was due to salary and compensation.
4. Automation platforms for seamless integration
The goal of most automation is simple: take a manual process and do it instead with software. Yet achieving that goal is anything but simple.
CIO respondents said that during the pandemic, they’ve shifted 20% of their organizations’ processes to digital automation. And nearly 70% said they’ve strengthened their focus on “digital transformation” — often meaning automation.
Sophisticated innovators are building platforms to address the specific needs of their business process. That means building a “digital factory” or innovation arm. There, they can test new technologies, develop proofs-of-concept, and form external partnerships.
5. Report on environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics
Why should tech execs care about ESG? In part, because two-thirds of CIO respondents said their organizations have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
CIOs will need to align these organizational commitments with new regulatory pressures. They could include investigating new real-time reporting solutions. These can also serve as competitive differentiators.
The exact role for IT in ESG efforts may vary by organization. Some CIOs will support the C-level execs who are directly accountable for ESG. Others will take leadership roles themselves, overseeing ESG activities. Either way, many CIOs will need new systems and processes to deliver real-time reporting on progress toward ESG goals.
> Get your copy of the full (51 pp.) Info-Tech report: CIO Priorities 2022