The last two years have disrupted business cycles tremendously, requiring businesses to become creative with their IT setups. Now, as everyone hopes to return a little more to business as usual, it’s time to assess the IT priorities for 2022.
A recent Gartner survey found that in 2022, 47% of knowledge workers will work remotely, up from 27% before the pandemic, so don’t be surprised if ‘hybrid workplace’ and remote work’ dominate the discussion.
The Top 8 IT Priorities for 2022
After 2020’s unexpected shakeup of virtually every industry on the planet, late 2020 and 2021 was the time we learned to adapt. Some trends have become apparent, and from this, we can make an educated assessment of where IT is headed in the next year.
1. Filling the Talent Gap
Ask any IT decision-maker and you’ll hear them say there is a shortage of IT talent in Canada. Technology has advanced so quickly, the labour market hasn’t kept up with supplying a pool of skilled (and experienced) IT professionals.
IDG Research has found that rather than look outside for rare talent, 75 percent of SMBs are “upskilling existing staff to meet demand,” at least until the labour pool catches up. Expect training for internal teams and outsourcing to IT experts to be top of the agenda for many a CIO, instead of fresh hiring.
2. Changing Talent Composition
There’s a huge demographic of younger, tech-savvy people filling entry-level positions, largely as part of the new remote workforce. And they are changing how organizations work.
Many of them prefer contract work, gig work, and flexible hours. Traditional, full-time employment may be a thing of the past. Organizations will have to keep pace by becoming more agile, working like a community rather than the traditional ‘command hierarchy.’
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3. Reducing Carbon Footprint
Sustainability credentials are becoming top priorities for B2B and B2C customers alike, and businesses that can demonstrate ethical environmental practices can gain a competitive advantage.
This isn’t just pie in the sky wishful thinking, it’s a business operations trend that’s likely to persist. In real IT terms, that can mean:
- Extending the life of devices
- Initiating efforts to reduce e-waste
- Reducing energy consumption
- Switching to cloud services and data centers that run on sustainable energy
4. Enhancing Cybersecurity With the Mesh
2022 will be the year of the counter-offensive against cyberattacks, where IT hits back with new technologies such as Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA). It is more flexible and reactive than traditional systems, making it more difficult for hackers to compromise an entire network.
Gartner predicts that by 2024, organizations that adopt CSMA “will reduce the financial impact of individual security incidents by an average of 90%.” In the meantime, greater staff education, such as around staying secure on public WiFi and ensuring the use of multi-factor authentication, will be paramount.
5. Greater Reliance on Machine Learning & AI
AI-based technologies are more developed than many businesses realize. They are no longer seen as experiments, rather are becoming part of a framework to create business value. Advanced machine learning is enabling intelligent real-world applications, everything from automated contact centers to inventory management.
The same pattern-learning can be used in IT for preempting downtime, optimizing server performance, identifying capacity bottlenecks, and thwarting cybersecurity threats.
6. Making Hyperautomation a Reality
Some believe that “If it can be automated, it should be automated.” This usually involves the removal of legacy business processes in favour of streamlined, easily scalable solutions. This cuts costs by removing the patchwork of technologies that don’t always work well together, are outdated, or otherwise inefficient or difficult to use.
Hyperautomation can offer improved data access, cloud-native applications, and a more complete digital experience for customers and employees, thanks to the application of AI-based tools, robotic process automation, and other technologies.
Expect your IT team to be occupied deploying these technologies across the business in 2022. Hyperautomation in the IT department promises to be an effective data gathering and insight-generation tool at first; IT task automation appears to be a few years away still.
7. Accelerated Shifted to the Cloud
Private and public cloud adoption is happening at a quickening pace, for bolstered infrastructure and safer data management. Software-as-a-service, such as subscription services, will be more prevalent.
Much of the resistance to migrating traditional on-premises capabilities to the cloud has fallen by the wayside. Cloud adoption and spending on cloud-based services is expected to rise as businesses prefer Opex (scalable) over Capex (sunk cost).
8. Outsourcing to Managed Service Providers
As more businesses realize the expense and effort it takes to maintain their own IT department, and how difficult it is to hang on to experienced, skilled employees, more will turn to outsourcing.
For the vast majority of businesses with any significant IT needs, the increased uptime and security benefits of outsourcing far outweigh the costs. Combined with the IT skill gap and skyrocketing IT salaries, the case for outsourcing is only becoming stronger.
More IT Priorities for You to Consider:
Get a Head Start on Your 2022 IT Priorities
The IT team looks set to face greater (and sometimes contradicting) demands from external factors in 2022: a business that needs the latest IT capabilities to grow; the call to shed legacy systems and invest in forward-facing technologies; all the while minimizing carbon footprint and showcasing green credentials.
Talk to experienced IT consultants about how you can position your IT infrastructure for success in 2022.