Although the COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to many of our customers, we have seen incredible transformations accelerated to meet the needs for work from home and remote learning. CIOs and IT leaders have become integral to business continuity and their increased engagement with their organisational leadership will have benefits for years to come.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic put IT leaders and departments in the spotlight, with organisations’ success dependent on how quickly they could adapt to the overnight push to remote work and full digitisation. IT leaders weathered the storm in 2021, securing their seat at the executives’ table for the coming year, according to the recently released 2022 IT Priorities Report from Snow Software. The report surveyed 1,000 IT leaders in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and India to take a comprehensive look at the issues and trends driving next year’s technology agenda.
89% of IT leaders claimed that IT roles were undervalued pre-COVID but are now viewed as essential – with 90% claiming they have become trusted advisors to the business. With this newfound responsibility and success also comes an increase in digital transformation and innovation efforts: nine in ten IT decision-makers say the pace of digital transformation has dramatically increased at their organisation over the past year, and another 94% say that innovation is a top priority for their organisation.
However, this dual acceleration of the pace of digital transformation and innovation isn’t without its share of challenges. While more investments are being made across various technologies, IT leaders are struggling to modernise while also overseeing and managing the breadth of technology within their organisation. This is where technology intelligence – the ability to understand and manage all technology resources – can provide additional context and will be critical for success. As IT plans for more technology deployments, greater innovation and increased staff, the full visibility into their investments — provided by technology intelligence — will be imperative to continue this rapid pace of innovation, deliver ROI and maintain control over their sprawling technology estate.
I have no doubt that we will look back at 20/21 as a period of dramatic change, which has given CIOs and IT leaders an enhanced voice in shaping strategy and goals which can drive revenue growth and innovation going forward. The pace of change will not slow down, making it even more critical that IT and business leaders have excellent oversight of their technology estate, allowing them to effectively manage technology, optimise spend and reduce risk which will, in turn, enable them to better weather future global events and better prepare for organisational success.
Alastair Pooley - Chief Information Office at Snow
Additional key findings include:
- Dual IT initiatives of accelerating digital transformation while managing an expanding technology estate can seem daunting. Ninety-three percent of IT decision makers said the pace of digital transformation dramatically increased at their organisation in 2021. During that time, IT leaders’ focus shifted from operational continuity to leading growth initiatives, such as improving customer experience. While 94% of leaders said their organisation has become more innovative when it comes to IT and technology resources, they also say they are challenged to deliver innovation and spend too much time reacting to problems (71%).
- Hybrid work is here to stay, and IT leaders are confident in their strategy. After stepping up to the plate and delivering remote access, IT leaders overwhelmingly (90%) feel their organisation is now able to deal with hybrid work efficiently. This confidence doesn’t come without some worry, however: to ensure they can hire and maintain talented IT staff and adequately manage their organisation’s growing remote workforce, they predict hybrid work will become a burden for IT (78%).
- Organisations are putting their money where their mouth is, increasing technology budgets overall. When it came to where organisations put their money, the biggest spend increases came in two fairly predictable areas over the past 12 months: security and cloud.
- 2022 IT priorities are challenging, but leaders are optimistic. Top priorities for IT leaders next year are adopting new technology to improve day-to-day operations (30%), reducing IT costs (28%) and improving customer service and satisfaction (28%). These areas of focus can often conflict, or at least compete, with one another. To balance these priorities moving forward, CIOs need a more advanced approach for managing their technology environment. Ninety-three percent say IT must invest in tools and technologies to extract value from their data and turn it into actionable intelligence.
- There is a global technology divide. While digital transformation is something all IT leaders are working to manage regardless of location, Germany tended to deviate from the rest of the world. The other regions consistently say they plan to spend more on various investments, while Germany is the one country most likely to say they plan to spend less on various technologies over the next year.