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IT leaders primed to drive innovation and hybrid work

As organisations move beyond the pandemic, survey shows IT leaders are being given greater levels of responsibility

A survey of 1,000 IT leaders in the US, the UK, Germany, Australia and India has found that the majority have seen their role grow during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The study, for Snow Software, reported that 92% of IT leaders say they have increased accountability for the financial impact of their IT investments. The survey also found that a big majority of IT leaders (90%) say IT is increasingly asked to innovate more quickly and demonstrate return on investment.

In fact, 82% say their business partners demand speed, but leaders have concerns about the cost and risk associated with moving too quickly to deliver.

According to Snow Software, almost one-third of IT leaders (30%) are prioritising adopting new technology to improve day-to-day operations. This may have been driven by businesses needing to adapt to lockdown measures during the pandemic, which forced many organisations to roll out remote access.

The survey found that IT departments are now far better prepared to support hybrid work. In fact, 90% believe their organisation is able to deal with the hybrid work model efficiently. A similar proportion (89%) say their organisation has made sure IT is equipped to deal with the new hybrid work mode.

However, with more employees in a hybrid work situation, 86% of IT leaders say there is now more demand for services from the IT department.

Looking at the top priorities for 2022, 31% of IT leaders say reducing IT costs is a top priority, and 27% say a top priority is adopting new technologies to improve day-to-day operations. A quarter (25%) are prioritising the delivery of digital transformation and 24% prioritise reducing security risks. Improving employee satisfaction is a top priority for 26% of the IT leaders who took part in the survey.

Despite the varying priorities, innovation has taken centre stage, with 94% of leaders saying their organisation has become more innovative when it comes to IT and technology resources, with 90% agreeing that IT is often asked to innovate more quickly and demonstrate return on investment. But this isn’t always easy, as 71% agree they spend too much time reacting to problems.

The vast majority (93%) of IT decision-makers say the pace of digital transformation has dramatically increased at their organisation over the past year, but 83% say emerging technologies no longer fit neatly into on-premise or cloud. According to Snow Software, these IT leaders need new processes and teams to manage them, adding to the long list of responsibilities on the CIO’s already highly piled plate.

Looking at skills and development, almost half (48%) of the IT leaders who took part in the survey say they have been required to learn new skills for a new technology, and 42% say they have learned new leadership and management skills. Just over 30% say they had a mentor/adviser to support them, while 29% had to figure out their changing role on their own. More than three-quarters (78%) say they still wish they had better management training. 

Alastair Pooley, CIO at Snow Software, said: “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.”

Read more IT strategy stories

  • Johnson Matthey’s CIO is working to create an agile IT department and says the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a company-wide appreciation of what IT does.
  • The UK’s small and medium-sized businesses have, in some respects, reacted more nimbly to Covid-19 than larger organisations. As a result, they have put themselves in a better position to take advantage of growth.

Read more on CW500 and IT leadership skills

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