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What Can Enterprise IT Leaders Expect in 2022?

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Read more about author Jesse Stockall.

The past two years of remote work have been both a sprint and a marathon for IT leaders – working to find quick solutions to keep the lights on and businesses running remotely, coupled with making remote work scalable, sustainable, and secure long-term. During this time, IT leaders’ mindset around digital transformation shifted from being a destination to a continuous journey.

IT leaders weathered the storm in 2021, and now as IT plans for more technology deployments, greater innovation, and increased staff, technology intelligence – the ability to understand and manage all technology resources – will be imperative to continue this rapid pace of innovation, deliver ROI, and maintain control over their sprawling technology estate.

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In a recent survey conducted by my company, IT leaders said that in 2022, their top IT priorities are adopting new technology to improve day-to-day operations, reducing IT costs, and improving customer service and satisfaction. In order to prioritize these three areas and get ahead, I’ve outlined six key areas for IT leaders to keep in mind in the new year.

Neutral sources of expertise on hybrid cloud strategy are more important than ever

Technology vendors differ greatly in how they approach and think about hybrid cloud. If a company is talking with a public cloud vendor or a data storage vendor, those two company perspectives on hybrid cloud can differ greatly. This can be confusing for organizations trying to decide which strategy is best for their business. This is not to say that vendor sales reps shouldn’t be relied on for expertise, but their POV will be heavily defined by the technology they sell. Buyers need to be aware of these differing points of view and seek more neutral sources of expertise such as analysts (who are consistently writing about hybrid cloud) and system integrators to get a more holistic understanding of what their organization needs. 

Hybrid working necessitates flexibility and some acceptance of risk from IT leaders

The pandemic promoted rapid technological change in working practices and a new, and ongoing, sense of urgency to rise to the challenge. Talking to peers and customers, many IT departments are continuing to implement innovative technology projects, knowing that doing so will bring about higher levels of risk that also have to be managed. New ideas and proposals that would have previously been rejected two years ago are now embraced by many traditional organizations, and modern CIOs must bring an agile and flexible approach to deliver what the business wants – revenue growth and increased productivity. 

The hybrid cloud conversation will be driven by public cloud vendors rather than infrastructure/on-premises vendors

For the last few years, hybrid cloud was championed by technology vendors who sold on-premises technologies, but now public cloud vendors are offering cloud-like experiences on-premises. This is not a good or bad thing, but as companies decide how they will approach their hybrid cloud strategy they need to consider how much control they want to maintain. By handing their private cloud to a public cloud vendor, companies may lose some control and ability to customize, but they will gain a unified, consistent hybrid cloud experience. Companies need to decide what will be best for their business, but overall, the conversation has shifted with public cloud vendors taking the wheel.

Specialized roles will be in even higher demand in 2022 

The Great Resignation has impacted enterprises at every level and department and has created a particularly fierce employee-driven, competitive hiring market. In addition to a shortage of talent, we’re seeing a skills gap among technical roles, creating even higher demand for candidates in certain roles and fields. In 2022, specialized and technical roles such as cloud architects, site reliability engineers, data scientists, and data engineers will be in extremely high demand. Additionally, we’re seeing new roles being created to meet current needs such as Chief Data Officers and Chief Compliance Officers, which will be challenging roles to find direct relevant experience. Specialized roles are becoming increasingly important as more enterprises move to the cloud, transition away from legacy architecture, and prepare for events that may have once been considered “unprecedented” (e.g., distributed workforces, cybersecurity attacks, talent shortages). 

Portability is still an issue but could be a huge gamechanger for hybrid cloud

Organizations are still unable to take full advantage of hybrid cloud (and multi-cloud) because of the challenges of portability. Architecting your technology stack is more important than ever; otherwise, organizations can create silos where their applications and data are living in two completely separate environments. Vendors often tout interoperability, but achieving true interoperability requires strategic architecting and maintenance. Whether organizations lock into one vendor for their public and private cloud needs or choose a multi-cloud strategy, companies need to invest time and resources to ensure their technology environment gains the full advantages of hybrid cloud. Portability has been, and remains, a key element to hybrid cloud ROI. 

As we look to the year ahead, to balance these priorities moving forward, IT leaders and the C-suite will need to work together to explore and enlist new technologies and overall keep pace with modern business to work even smarter. Those who sit on the sidelines or adopt conservative or outdated practices will have problems attracting and retaining talent and adapting in this new world of hybrid everything.

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