Priorities have shifted for today’s CIOs

Priorities have shifted for today’s CIOs
April 9, 2022  |  BY

If there’s one thing most people can agree on, it’s how uncontrollable forces can affect our lives and jobs. And probably no one understands this phenomenon better than today’s CIOs. The remote work revolution, combined with strides in digital transformation, has altered what goes to the top of a CIO’s to-do list.

Whereas the CIO’s main priority used to be the implementation and maintenance of IT solutions, they now must focus primarily on innovation across the organization, within every business unit. Priorities have shifted.

Among issues that have taken precedence, CIO are accelerating the IT architecture and developing product roadmaps. CIOs recognize how emerging technology can affect the company and ensure efficiency. As such, when remote work became more of the norm during the pandemic, many CIOs shifted infrastructure to the cloud; they had no choice, as doing so was essential for survival.

That said, enterprises have to consider how technology can adapt over time due to the change in IT architectures. With the quickening speed of digital acceleration, CIOs can modify systems and also create new product roadmaps that align with the updated enterprise environment.

With major change comes major spending. The trick is for CIOs to determine which technologies will deliver the greatest impact. In turn, they’ll have to implement broad changes in strategy – this is critical for ensuring that new systems match up to company-wide requirements.

While cyber security has always been a key concern, the remote work revolution has made it even more of a priority. CIOs now have to contend with hundreds, in many cases thousands, of employees working from home, as well as café’s and other locations. This work landscape creates networks with many more potential security holes that just a few years ago. Workers are using unsecured Wi-Fi networks and personal devices to their jobs, and can be unsuspecting victims of the increase in sophisticated phishing and cyber threats.

That’s why security and IT teams are increasingly collaborating. There are simply more network access points to data, creating a goldmine of possible entryways for cyber criminals. As a result, CIOs now face more challenges in order to protect data and enforce security protocols.

To this end, CIOs have started to educate their teams about the often clever strategies employed by cyber thieves. It’s crucial that every employee contributes to prevent cyber attacks and keep data secure. With the heightened awareness that any point in the network is vulnerable, CIOs can implement even more change.

Interestingly, as the pandemic created unforeseen amounts of remote workers, it also birthed The Great Resignation. Employees have quit in droves, and offices may never look as they did pre-COVID. This applies in particular to specialized technology positions.

CIOS are in a quandary. With a shortage in the talent pool, they’re having trouble finding the right people, yet at the same time they need current staff to take on multiple roles, often ones beyond their area of expertise. CIOs have adapted, becoming more integral to operations where they help with talent management and growth.

This shift has led companies to offer more education to current staff, for both honing present skills and developing new ones. They’re also accelerating overall career growth, which increases long-tern retention even more.

Many will argue, rightly, that the remote work model inherently makes it more difficult to maintain employee engagement. However, CIOs can put the odds in their favor by using more soft skills and emotional intelligence. While that is light years away from traditional CIO leadership, things have changed – and as we’ve seen, changed in more ways than one.