The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have turned many organisations on their heads. Whilst some site that there has been a fundamental shift in digital thinking, others argue that Covid-19 was merely the catalyst needed to make organisations adopt the changes they have long known they needed to make. In this article we explore the eight areas of technology CIOs should be concentrating on in 2022 as identified by ITProPortal.
Technology has, of course, been instrumental throughout the accelerated digital transformation we have been seeing. But as we move into the ‘new normal’ there will be particular areas of technology that savvy CIOs are likely to be concentrating on over the next 12 months.
IT’s changing role within the business
The barriers to digital transformation have been eroded during the pandemic. IT departments have pivoted away from being a function that’s about feeding and watering boxes and wires, to one which is instrumental to driving digital capabilities throughout the entire organisation.
For CIOs, 2022 will be the year that the job firmly moves away from just looking after the infrastructure. Now, they are thinking differently about where the organisation could go and what their leadership can do for them. To not only survive, but thrive, organisations will need to put technology leaders on the board. This is because they can’t pivot without having digital leadership properly challenging the business to re-think.
The next phase of RPA
Many organisations have already adopted robotic process automation (RPA) to remove time-sapping tasks from staff to allow them to focus on more experiences that will cultivate customer loyalty. Thus far, RPA has been primarily used by business functions such as finance, HR, and IT. However, in 2022, data and risk management will become a core driver of RPA. Where you can use the ability of bots to not do anything unexpected it really plays to that compliance and audit aspect. Because they're not going to deviate or do anything other than what they're expected to, there's a direct risk mitigation aspect to their role. I, therefore, expect to see organizations move some tasks where the risk of human error is high to RPA.
Improving experience through the customer journey
The digital transformation we are now seeing is more tactical, focusing on the way people are approaching problems versus the technology itself. With the increasing power of technology, being able to connect services, data and customer interactions is just a small part of what is possible. In 2022, organisations will look at how they can leverage the data they've got on a customer to make their life simpler across the entire customer journey. They will use tools at their disposal to create a digital experience that consumers today expect.
Using technology to accurately predict, pre-empt and pre-authorise
In 2022, digital leaders will increasingly look at the information they have available and use it to understand where demand is coming from. Whilst demand has undoubtedly shifted – due in no small part from the myriad of global lockdowns – supply has shifted too. There have been widespread supply issues that have required organisations to be more agile than ever before This will continue into 2022. Businesses will need to use the data at their fingertips to accurately predict, pre-empt and pre-authorise processes within the business to ensure that they can continue to compete.
Better harnessing the power of data
Organisations are starting to recognise the power of what can be done with the 1s and 0s they have within the business, but they are still only scratching the surface. Think about the world of IoT and in-home tech solutions like sensors. By harnessing the power of these data sets, a healthcare business could theoretically cut the number of adult social care workers, allowing a fundamental shift in the skillsets required within these teams. In many industries, this couldn’t have come at a better time. We are seeing a skills shortage in many industries as they have to come with the lasting effects of the pandemic, Brexit and inflation. If certain customer-facing roles could be switched with data specialists, analysts and home tech specialists, you end up shifting the narrative and allowing yourself the space to deal with a much wider range of challenges.
Using technology to promote staff wellbeing
Across all industries, there is currently an acute need to manage staff wellbeing. Whilst there were plenty of issues before the pandemic, these have been intensified over the past year and a bit. Never has there been a better time to identify and measure where the biggest problems are and address them urgently. In 2022, technology will increasingly be used to help. One of its main benefits is that it takes emotion out of the equation. If decisions and plans are based on data, it is easier for businesses to remain objective and respond to the issues that have been identified as causing problems for the general productivity and wellbeing of their people.
Continuing to move operations into the cloud
I don’t think any business would disagree that they need to move to the cloud if they are to become a true digital enabler. For example, if the organisation wants to best use machine learning to predict demand or understand how to communicate with customers, most can't afford the computing power to do it properly. Most of the spend on innovation today continues to be in the cloud. There are hundreds of digital services released each quarter by the big tech vendors and very few of them are now built with on-premises usage in mind. The big three cloud providers themselves spent just under £70bn on development last year. That’s a figure all businesses should be taking advantage of in 2022.
The climate emergency will drive transformation
The climate emergency is, quite rightly, going to continue to be on everyone’s minds in 2022. In the light of the recent COP26 summit that monopolised headlines for weeks, numerous governments and respected organisations declared a climate emergency. Moving to the cloud is a no-brainer for any business with environmental aspirations. Plus, with all three big cloud providers declaring they'll be carbon negative by 2030, let alone carbon neutral, there is yet another compelling reason to head to the cloud for the good of the planet.