The digital transformation that many organizations underwent in 2020 continued in 2021 at a rapid pace as the pandemic continued to impact the entire world. Now it is time for CIOs to form an effective long-term strategy for the coming year.
Most organizations cobbled together temporary accommodations in the panicked move to remote work to keep the business running as employees shifted to working from home overnight with virtual plans for digital transformation accelerated at warp speed. Assuming this situation would all be short-lived, CIOs were forced to make urgent decisions leaving no time for planning, research, or preparation.
Those crisis plans became status quo making 2021 the year of hybrid work model. There’s no turning back. Many CIOs believe digital transformation will continue to accelerate, primarily catalyzed by outside forces beyond their control.
Here are four lessons CIOs should take away from 2021 to inform their plans for 2022:
1. Building IT infrastructure for the hybrid environment
IT and security infrastructure must adapt for the long haul. There are many organizations where the engineering team moved operations to their home garages only to provide uninterrupted services. After a year, many even have an entire server rack at home for R&D. Now, lab environments and test equipment need to be outsourced. This provides better reliability and security and virtually eliminates the need for a fixed physical office location allowing network engineers to work anywhere.
2. Revise business continuity, disaster recovery plans
Looking back at business continuity plans from 2019 is comical now. Earlier, people did not care what ISP employees used. But if they’re all using the same carrier and there’s a significant fiber outage in their network, it will create problems to run the business.
CIOs may want to consider having employees in business-critical functions on diversified endpoints, which likely means subsidizing that cost to mitigate the risk of a widespread business interruption.
Balance innovation with operations
Innovation and development teams must be closer to the business and have the entire team involved in new product development, testing, and validation to be more agile. Priorities are met initially, and no time or resources are wasted. Regression performance testing and security scanning must be baked in real-time to shorten the development cycle for maximum efficiency.
By bringing IT and business operations closer together, companies will be able to balance innovation and functions without having to sacrifice either, even when talent or resources have been limited.
4. Operate with empathy and a people-first approach
To support internal change applying marketing communication principles can be a game-changer. CIOs can develop employee communication plans to convince customers to buy their products with the operations adaption. Business leaders need to ‘market’ new systems or processes to employees with proactive messages explaining what’s in it and how it will make their jobs easier.
5. Everywhere 5G
In 2021 5G deployments in the sub-6GHz bands have remained on track globally. More complex 5G wave deployments have significant growth potential. This trend is already changing, and there will be a significant shift in 2022. 5G millimeter wave deployments and urban and densely populated environments will continue to roll out into rural markets. Some companies have already adopted 5G, while there will be a massive demand for this in 2022.
6. Environmental Social Governance
Organizations in every industry prioritized environmental and social governance from climate issues to social good throughout 2021, which will likely amp up over the next decade. Investments and pledges are already in climate, diversity, equity, and sustainable product development. Many organizations’ material role in the widespread adoption and investment in sustainability and other initiatives will continue to grow.