CIO Advisory Council Recap: Planning Amid Uncertainty

January 19, 2021

Creating next year’s annual plans is filled with more uncertainty than usual this year. We may not know when a vaccine will be widely available or when our organizations may start to resemble their pre-pandemic selves again, but as we move through Q4 and finalize plans for 2021, CIOs can prepare to remain agile as the world propels into the unknown.

Earlier this month, the CIO Advisory Council, comprised of CIOs across the globe brought together by Experis, traded notes about how they are setting 2021 priorities and approaching talent acquisition in a fluid situation.

Keeping data in the right hands

Security was named a top priority by all of the CIO Advisory Council members. Supporting a geographically dispersed workforce with access to sensitive information anywhere, raises significant concerns around security and the opportunity for cyber attacks. CIOs need to be hyper-vigilant about setting high standards for security and intentional about securing the budget to support. Leaders can designate a centralized security group to identify needs, vet solutions and resource allocation, and set training and compliance standards.

Overcoming chaos with simplification and automation

When times are good the sediment builds. This chaotic environment prompts us to take another look at resource allocation and be more deliberate about initiatives and budgets. In addition to supporting the business vision, some CIOs are now finding themselves in Survival Mode. To avoid a 2021 that resembles a game of whack-a-mole, IT leaders must ask the tough questions, like, “If you had to start over, how would you rebuild your IT organization?” and “Are our legacy systems still relevant today?”

Armed with this clarity, we can go into 2021 focused on getting the most out of what we have, cutting the waste, reducing technical debt, finally prioritizing dusty clean-up projects, and conduct vendor consolidation exercises with increased scrutinization of business cases to best serve the New Next.

Tweaking pandemic talent practices for long-term success

Council members agree, borderless talent is here to stay. What felt like short-term experiments in work-from-home arrangements and eased location requirements has been tested and proven. Now, it is on leaders to define remote culture and be clear on expectations (i.e. camera etiquette, mute usage, platform preference and proficiency), be keenly attuned to the unique needs of each team member, and prioritize culture fit when brining on new talent to ensure they don’t become islands.

With culture at an all-time importance, there is an opportunity to develop folks internally for new opportunities. Instead of bringing in high-value talent, are there existing emerging leaders that could be trained - simultaneously re-energizing the team about advancement opportunities and preserving the unique culture dynamics of the organization?

Across the organization, IT leaders must prioritize facilitating remote capabilities, accelerating cloud migration and addressing technical debt to ensure employee satisfaction is not adversely affected by clunky systems.

The CIO Advisory Council exists to help technology executives solve tech talent challenges faster and better through the power of peers. If you are a CIO/CISO leader and would like more information about joining the CIO Advisory Council, please contact Cesiah Kessler at Cesiah.Kessler@experis.com.

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