João Paulo Cabecinha, Executive Director of Glintt and Nexllence
After almost a year of pandemic, there is no doubt that the Covid-19 has had a big impact on the business world. Virtually all companies have had to rethink their business model and organization, further responding to digital and accelerating their transformation. Faced with this new paradigm, the figure of the CIO will be of great importance, both in this newly released year 2021 and in the next, since he will be responsible for leading a process of change that affects the workforce, the relationship that it has with its colleagues responsible for the business and even the services and products they offer to customers.
Faced with this challenge, however, the main challenge currently facing the figure of the CIO is the implementation of its IT plan, that is, to propose a whole strategy that involves, among other things, deciding what activities the people of its internal team should perform and what is appropriate to outsource. The advantages and disadvantages of each of these two options are generally listed in favor of one or the other based on past experiences and not so much when analyzing objective information. We even tend to decide on the basis of emotional and non-technical criteria.
That is why it is now more than ever vital that we review these arguments to look at other key factors, such as the importance of having expertise, potential risks, their control, flexibility, speed and responsiveness, data security and privacy, differentiation and, obviously, costs within reach. Undoubtedly, challenges that all IAUs will have on their agenda this 2021.
First, risk management is now a priority for any organization, and diversifying resources and services is the only way to address it. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic made companies aware of the urgency of establishing robust implementation plans to ensure business continuity in the face ofany potential risk, considering the entire ecosystem of the organization. This is a key issue for this year 2021, as the health crisis has demonstrated the fragility of some of the traditional processes of many companies, which had a great dependence on the infrastructure or total dependence of some suppliers. Now, it is a business imperative to ensure that they have the necessary technological tools, both internal and external, that allow organizations to deal with potential unforeseen events and the new needs of an constantly changing market, all in a safe and strategically diversified way.
Other wise, another important aspect this 2021 will be that reliance on technology and sophistication in organizations has increased the complexity of their management. The immediate response found by most sectors to address the health crisis and restrictions was to strengthen their investments in technology, something that will continue this year. According to Gartner’s data, more than $85 billion in IT is expected to be invested and 69% of Board of Directors forecast an acceleration of the digital business due to COVID-19. In this sense, because of telework, we are experiencing a growing adoption of cloud services and a large implementation of applications and technology services, as well as a massive increase in the use of digital channels to maintain and strengthen the relationship with partners and customers. This sudden digital transformation has led to a number of issues that need to be managed, such as meeting privacy standards and ensuring adequate protection from the point of view of cybersecurity, as well as others arising from the integration and effective articulation of many services and equipment simultaneously.
Finally, this year it is essential that CIO is able to reconcile a strategy of cost reduction and investment in new solutions. This reality has forced technology teams to quickly balance their investment between the execution of daily work and the development of new solutions, often in a very short time because of the market dynamics that have been generated in response to the pandemic. The existence of a culture of ‘teamwork’ between the business and technological areas is no longer just something desirable, but an essential requirement.
In this situation, two priorities arise in the IT team that must condition their decisions. On the one hand, the constant monitoring of commercial teams to find the best technological solutions that guarantee the competitiveness of the company. On the other hand, to promote a new management of technology partners with the aim of building a broader talent ecosystem that encompasses manufacturers, consultants, integrators and start-ups, among others.
Today, business success is increasingly dependent on the ability of organizations to attract the best talent available in the market and align it with their business goals, with more medium-term-focused relationships. The creation of this network should be a priority objective and must be built with a size adjusted to the capabilities of the company, since the number exposes the complexity of its management.
This properly applied model can optimize the management processes and innovation drive that any organization, regardless of size, cannot do in isolation. Today, in the execution of actions we must be prepared to work with different teams, in different geographical locations, something that has been very common during 2020. Everyone’s commitment is achieved by aligning ourselves around a common purpose and no longer depends so much on a traditional working relationship. However, it is essential to ensure effective and permanent communication to reinforce the sense of belonging and share the objectives. At this point, the creation of a strong own culture is fundamental and should be extended to and assimilated by partners, a key aspect in their selection, along with technical competence.