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9 ways CIOs won’t be able to support hybrid work in 2022

9 ways CIOs won’t be able to support hybrid work in 2022

The heroic work of CIOs in facilitating the creation of remote jobs was not enough to handle the events that followed. Hybrid success requires adequate investments, a new mindset, and extensive cultural change.

9 ways CIOs won't be able to support hybrid work in 2022
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Organizations have been talking about the transition to hybrid work for so long that a new business model anywhere may seem certain.

“From an IT standpoint, the pandemic has already been an attempt by many companies to adapt to hybrid workers,” said Robin Hammerlink, Senior Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Shure. But solutions and processes quickly starting in the early days of the 2020 lockdown were not enough to enable a mixed workplace in the long run. Even if employees expect flexibility and remote working opportunities, many organizations will find it difficult to support a mixed work environment in the coming months. “A third of companies will fail to operate anywhere and it will not be the virus’s fault,” says Forrester’s latest report, “Predictions 2022: The Future of Work.”

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Furthermore, enabling hybrid operation is more complex than fully supporting remote environments. “When all employees are away, the dynamics are clear — and hence the expectations: We will all use digital methods of collaboration,” said JP Thubder, Vice President and Principal Analyst in the Forrester Future team. “Back in the office opens the door to new challenges. Those who return to the office may feel frustrated with calendars filled with Zoom conversations. Home workers may become upset when office workers return to 2019 behaviour, such as scribbling on the board.”

Insisting that everyone return to headquarters was no longer an option. 30% of organizations that plan to actually consolidate their divisions, according to Forrester data, are likely to experience exit rates that exceed those already high.

Working from anywhere is the future, and 2022 is the year when hybrid work will become a reality. The CIO will play a key role in this effort. However, navigating through other challenges such as issues of responsibility and authority can lead to many errors. Here are some of the ways IT leaders may not be dealing with a smooth transition into a hybrid working future — and what they can do instead.

Rest from the glories of the epidemic and abandon inspection and review

What was good enough in Spring 2020 is no longer enough. Hybrid work is completely different from telecommuting. Furthermore, many of the solutions introduced in the past two years may not be flexible or scalable enough for the enterprise in the long run.

“When the pandemic hit, organizations needed to respond quickly. Services were deployed quickly and efficiently, without necessarily putting scalability and reliability first,” said Bob Lamendola, Senior Vice President of Technology and Head of Center for Digital Services, Ricoh USA. Already stressed IT organizations now need to support hybrid infrastructure and remote workers with the same priority given to business critical systems infrastructure.”

In 2022, IT leaders will need to reassess their investments, resources, and priorities in the workplace to ensure they can meet the current and future needs of hybrid work. “Is there redundancy? Are there multiple access points? Are security measures in place? These are all important questions to ask,” says Lamendola. “The challenge now is to ensure that the services that are deployed to enable interoperability are robust, scalable and most importantly secure. To keep pace with our distant reality and the new hybrid.

Not securing enough investments

“Whether it’s operations, projects, collaborations or virtual events, a hybrid is a reality,” says Ron White, chief information officer at Avanade. “As the saying goes, failure is not just an option, and convincing senior business leaders of it can be the biggest challenge. Once you accept this “fact,” you can begin to evaluate your business tools and determine if the experience is in line with employee expectations.” IT leaders will need to present the feasibility study for additional investments to support hybrid working to senior leaders who assume that their (often significant) investment in remote work will be sufficient.

Technological glitches are overlooked

Telecommuting is one of the biggest inequalities in the employee experience in a mixed workplace. It is also one of the most difficult employee experience gaps for IT organizations to fill. “With so many opportunities for employees to connect remotely, ensuring quality of service and redundancy outside the control of IT is a challenge,” says Lamendola. “Bandwidth can be easily controlled in an office environment; however, in residential, multi-apartment and remote areas, it is a challenge to ensure A consistent level of service is a challenge.”

Forgetting to observe cultural norms

There is no doubt that investing in new technologies can help improve hybrid business processes. More cameras and microphones in meeting rooms, digital whiteboards, and office space management software are some examples of the types of investments organizations are likely to make to support a hybrid work environment.

“It’s basically not a technical issue,” says Greider of Forrester. It is a matter of culture and leadership. You have to build a new set of expectations and behaviors to make sure that remote workers are not second-class citizens.”

To do this, IT leaders need to address cultural, behavioral, and technological contradictions, says Lamendola of Ricoh USA. Organizations need to think about how to quickly understand the gaps in expertise and develop a plan to fill them. “Establishing standards that meet role models, continuous training/rework and experience is critical to success and continuous improvement,” he explains.

No agility

A hybrid workplace requires agile technology support, which can be a challenge for many IT groups. “But the nature of mixed work requires agility and the ability to respond quickly to changing business demands,” says Lamendola. The ability to quickly grant or remove network access, which has always been a critical requirement for security and operation, is now critical to business in the hybrid era. Not only to protect your data but also to enhance productivity.

There is no priority for IT staff retention

Speaking of the tsunami of rotation, hiring and retaining technical talent is essential to support a hybrid business. “In the ever-changing new work environment, it is critically important to nurture, develop and reward talent to keep teams motivated,” says Nicola Moreni-Bianzino, chief global engineering officer at EY. IT teams feel supported, appreciated and understood, and I anticipate that the war on tech talent will continue into the new year and will remain the number one priority for organizations around the world.”

CIOs should focus on motivating their leadership teams in 2022. “Help unlock the innovative potential of your team by encouraging risk-taking and rewarding leading innovation initiatives,” says Bianzino. “In addition, make sure your technical management knows that you understand the challenges ahead, such as retaining technical talent. Show them that you support their efforts to prioritize speed and hiring, and reward their efforts to hire a diverse workforce.”

It will also be important to establish or strengthen lines of communication so that everyone in the IT field can express their needs. If there is no basis for trust and transparency in the team, conveyed through open lines of communication, then this sense of support will be lost.

While technology will play a vital role in the effective functioning of the hybrid workplace, IT leaders must recognize that this transition – like any other significant technology-driven change – will require more from the IT organization. “You won’t be able to provide your employees with a diverse experience unless you treat it the old-fashioned way,” says White of Avanade. “People, process, then technology.”

Organizations have been talking about the transition to hybrid work for so long that a successful transition to a work environment from anywhere can seem doomed.

“From an IT standpoint, the pandemic has already represented many companies trying to adapt to hybrid workers,” said Robin Hammerlink, Senior Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer at Shure.

Unsuccessful cooperation with the human resources department

“IT can only set standards and lead by example to a certain extent,” says White of Avanade. The employee expertise ultimately rests with the HR department. “As a result, many CIOs will find that they need to work closely with other CIOs and HR to change the culture and raise the innovation budget to support this new culture,” says Gunder of Forrester.

Take, for example, a company that decided to make digital whiteboards the central component of all business meetings. “Building this business case requires that CEOs align with the expectations of business and HR leaders and build consensus,” says Thubder. But technology itself is not a panacea.

Source: CIO

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