Facing uncertainty: How CIOs are staying future-focused
By Daniel Beevers, Managing Director of EMEA at Expereo
Recent economic uncertainty and geopolitical crises across the world have presented significant challenges to organisations looking to drive growth forward. Hard times, however, can lead to great accomplishments and innovations, and with the right mindset, great opportunity.
Looking back to the pandemic, the businesses that thrived were those most well-suited to adapt to new working conditions and transform their digital approach to match shifting workforce models. This theme of ‘adaptability’ is what sets market leading businesses apart from the rest.
In fact, Expereo’s recent study – Enterprise Horizons – revealed that despite the challenges facing businesses today, CIOs from some of the largest enterprises in the UK are maintaining a positive outlook towards growth, primarily due to increasing investment in technology. Almost half (48%) of respondents stated that board members are committing to technology investment, leading to a positive attitude to growth. In the UK especially, CIOs were found to have the second most positive outlook from respondents globally, as 40% describe their organisations’ attitudes to growth as optimistic, with a quarter (25%) describing their intended approach as ambitious for the next 12 months.
Below we explore some of the most important insights into trends for modern enterprises’ technology and business strategy.
A focus on AI
Perhaps unsurprisingly, interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) is now top of mind for business leaders, with 60% of UK CIOs citing it as their priority area for tech investment.
While media attention and consumer interest in AI is a significant contributor to this focus, AI-equipped business solutions have already proven themselves to be more than just hype, having had a huge impact in automating regulatory processes and menial administration tasks, allowing staff to focus on tasks more demanding of human input.
Security challenges and network connectivity
Security is another priority area for investment for UK CIOs, with 58% listing it as one of their top areas for investment over the next six months. With a shifting security landscape revealing new vulnerabilities, and with more users, devices, applications, services and data outside the enterprise perimeter than inside, bad actors are discovering new ways to penetrate and disrupt.
Considering this, it makes sense that there is a rise in demand for secure access service edge (SASE) and SD-WAN technologies, which can bring enterprises a newfound sense of security by providing a unified platform across users, applications and locations, whilst simultaneously aiding network connectivity challenges.
Overcoming connectivity challenges
Connectivity is key to facilitate growth into new markets; almost half of UK CIOs have identified establishing and managing connectivity as the single most important factor to guarantee success with regards to global expansion. Our research shows that a third (34%) of CIOs surveyed said their board views global connectivity as a critical asset for growth, but there are challenges that need to be overcome.
Of these challenges, managing performance stands out as a concern, with over a third (37%) stating they need to deal with network performance issues in order to prepare for a smooth digital transformation.
Connectivity across locations for both customers and staff is particularly essential in today’s hybrid and remote world, and a dynamic and adaptable network can spell the difference between success and failure.
The talent market
Organisations everywhere are facing the challenge that is the severe talent shortage across the world, with expertise in data analytics and automation, and AI and machine learning in high demand. Expansion requires the right skills and local market expertise, making it necessary for global focused businesses to work with the best talent to support their goals and objectives.
Paying competitive salaries is not enough anymore, companies now must build a culture that is adaptable to change, encourages skill development internally and is aligned with growth initiatives and wider company objectives. Leadership training and investing in people is absolutely imperative to facilitating this change.
This is because without the right attitude to the skills required to implement, manage and maintain effective business strategy, even the best investments can’t prevent stagnation. It is therefore vital to stay future-focused, while laying appropriate foundations across both the workforce and the infrastructure that supports it.
Organisations that can stay future-focused, recognise the necessary technologies, establish a seamless network system that supports their technology infrastructure, and retain their top talent will be well positioned to continue to grow their business. CIOs need to completely focus on supercharging strategic growth wherever they are doing business in the world; not grappling with unnecessary logistical and connectivity challenges. That’s what Expereo is here for. We simplify and automate providing intelligent internet access, allowing our customers to get on with business.