Digital Intelligence: 2018 Digital Trends report (Part two)

Here are our 5 actionable tips to future-proof your IT function from the Econsultancy 2018 Digital Trends report.

Obsolescence – the way one technology becomes less and less useful over time as associated technologies advance – is a common problem most of us must contend with every day. Just think about the number of mobile phones you have gone through over the last ten years to understand why future-proofing your IT strategies is important.

The Econsultancy 2018 Digital Trends report on this very topic, looking at the trends and challenges facing IT executives. In part one, we broke down the facts. Now, in part two we look at some actionable advice for future-proofing IT in your business.

The CIO is increasingly vital

Studies have clearly shown that the CIO needs to have the full backing of a digital-driven company’s CEO to make the transformative, cross-departmental changes that will keep the business on top of technological changes. A CIO that is empowered to unite different divisions across the company under one IT umbrella will see benefits quickly, as different departments can more easily share data and insight into the overall picture. The report also mentions that this will require extra training for things such as procedures, security and data sensitivity.

Technology needs to be future-proofed across the board

Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, a technology-driven company needs to make sure that every part of the customer experience is backed by an integrated IT solution that performs equally well across different end-points. For example, an online shop that is fast, handles secure payments and offers an excellent social media presence could be completely let down by a buggy shipping calculator, which will completely ruin the entire businesses reputation. Therefore, it’s important to have a holistic approach to the technology stack, ensuring the entire business is working from one (potentially cloud-based) platform that is routinely updated to offer personalised experiences.

The future of business workflows is digital

As part of the CIO’s remit, there needs to be a rethink of how traditional methods of doing things in an office can be re-imagined in a digital-first paradigm. It’s no use having a digital-driven office if there are still analogue bottlenecks in the daily workflow. CIOs must ensure that procedures are as paperless as possible, creating a digital end-to-end strategy. By focusing on digital, significant productivity gains can be accomplished across the board after an initial training period.

Softer skills are just as important as software skills

As a digital-driven future is increasingly collaborative, so-called “softer” skills (communication, working in teams, earning and displaying trust, etc) are becoming a critical part of any senior IT manager’s repertoire. The days of the IT department being reclusive and hard to work with are over. The future IT department is just as much a front-facing part of the company as any other and needs to learn from other departments what they require from their technology platforms.

Expertise can come from anywhere

As the world of technology is expanding at an ever-increasing speed in countless directions at once, it becomes practically impossible for one CIO or senior IT manager to be fully across all the latest developments in every field. This is now why it’s vital to utilise the opinions of external consultants, technology vendors or other department heads who make it their business to see how new, niche technology solutions can work for your company. There is a lot of developing information in the IT world and a savvy CIO will know that the key to navigating it is learning where to find experts in various fields.

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