CIO's Desk: Indian CIOs' IT spending priorities in 2022

With technology driving, most of the businesses today have placed lots of expectations and responsibilities on the leaders

CIO's Desk: Indian CIOs' IT spending priorities in 2022 - CIO&Leader

Currently, the major concerns in the CIO list are -how do we improve the digital dexterity; how do we speed up the digital transformation journey which we have embarked upon. With everyone getting impacted by the Industrial Revolution 4.0, most organization is going through this transitional phase.

Recently Gartner forecasts that Indian IT spending will reach USD101.8 billion in 2022, a rise of 7% from the last year, and it will be tricky to understand what the Indian CIOs IT spending priorities will be. 

We need an effective structure around the digital transformation programme and then should be driving those initiatives with clear-cut business outcomes and priority.

Strengthening Cyber Security- As the threat landscape is changing very fast, we need to strengthen our cyber-security systems. It is true that as cyber threats increase, there is a danger that security concerns simply choke off a business’s speed and flexibility. The solution to this conundrum lies in recognizing that security is primarily a cultural and managerial issue rather than a technical one.

Traditionally there were some focus areas where the majority of the attacks happened but today, we are fighting with the attackers who know their targets, are well-sponsored and our operational technology system is at high risk. We need to upgrade our security operations to improve prevention and resilience. This can be done by applying a developer mindset to security rather than a compliance one. We also can have DevSecOps working models or security as a code approach that defines cybersecurity policies and standards and then instantiates them as code through architecture and automation.

Cloud at the Center – This is the age of agility, where speed is an important parameter. We should understand that the cloud is not only a source of IT productivity improvements rather a source of transformative value. Many organizations are well into their cloud journeys, and they do understand that cloud has big prospects today and tomorrow. In my opinion, CIOs should master cloud economics and target business areas that can benefit from the cloud’s advantages of speed, flexibility, scale, out-of-the-box self-service utilities and must focus on hiring cloud talent.

Nevertheless, whenever there is any new technology there are some hiccups in terms of adoption. So, while there are many organizations who have adopted the Cloud, there are many who are still struggling to capture the full value that the cloud offers.

Data, the pillar of any Organization- One can’t be great at analytics and transformation without being great at data. We say Data is the new oil, and with so much data generating every day, becoming a data-driven organization is the new ambition for any organization. Today, Data and AI are transforming business models and the concepts of scale. The value of great data can be summarized as using best-in-class to become a market leader, driving revenue/growth/profitability, creating sustainable competitive advantage, and reducing business risk.

Furthermore, India has come up with its data privacy bill, and organizations are required to proactively start working around it.

Creating a digital mindset- The biggest priority I would say is how to create a digital mindset in the organization. Digital is not just word about technology, it is as much about people and seamlessly bringing together people and technology. Hence, an important part of operating in today’s landscape is having a ‘Digital Mindset’, meaning being able to incorporate technology in the blood of the organization and extracting value from it.

Sustainability – Recently, everyone is talking a lot about sustainability in a big way, and technology plays a critical role to bring that sustainability into the organization. Now from a technology perspective, C-Suite should have a priority of focusing on partnering with organizations ecosystem for a creating that sustainability.

Challenges impacting CIOs in 2022 and beyond-

Though we have started investing in digital transformation, the question is still left- do we have that kind of talent around? If yes, then there is another challenge of retaining them and if not, then we need an advanced structure to upgrade and upscale the team we already have and then again retain them.

Similarly, with the digital transformation, the ecosystem is also evolving, and we need to find the right partners and the right use cases. Further, we know that there is no one-stop solution for every organization, so finding the right technology according to our requirements is yet another challenge.

How to maintain momentum in the digital acceleration journey-

In any organization, the major aspect of maintaining the digital acceleration journey is to have the motivation to keep on doing better and better, and that motivation will come from the successes we achieve during our journey. Then as a leader, CIOs should have an agile approach and must encourage their team to learn from their failures. Break the large programmes into multiple small ones and let your team, work on them as an initiative.

In the end, whatever path you chose- whatever the results are- don’t stop celebrating.

Conclusion

With technology driving, most of the businesses today have placed lots of expectations and responsibilities on the leaders. When a CIO talks about digital transformation, it’s probably about improving the business like KPI, volume, cost, customer experience, trying to change the business model, or completely wanting to change the way the business is running. And with this come a major responsibility of maintaining a balance between all the areas of technologies- infrastructure, operations, applications, the speed at which we work, the ecosystem which we created around us, creating the digital-savvy culture and finally how to get the most out of these.

The author is CIO at Hindustan Zinc Ltd (Vedanta Resources Plc)


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