Five priorities for tech leaders in Australia, New Zealand

To better compete in the digital economy and support firms through change, CIOs in ANZ should follow these five priorities, says Info-Tech

It’s no secret that Chief Information Officers and other digital leaders are facing a greater burden than ever, since the pandemic, as they continue to facilitate new remote work models, adapt to a hybrid operating model, struggle to attract and retain top tech talent, and face severe cybersecurity threats. Not to mention the new compliance pressures from investors and governments.

To manage all these complexities, compete in the digital economy, and ultimately help their organisations through this dynamic period of change, technology leaders need to understand how to balance everything and prioritise what’s crucial.

And to help them do just that, Info-Tech, one of the world’s fastest-growing IT research and advisory companies, has published its CIO Priorities 2022 report, combining insight and case studies that “show you once you make the commitment, successful outcomes are possible”, according to Brian Jackson, research director.

Five Priorities from Info-Tech's 2022 CIO Priorities Report 

"The 2022 CIO priorities certainly resonated with what our members were telling us locally," says Mike Schembri, Info-Tech's Senior Executive Advisor for the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) region.

The following top five priorities should be top of mind for CIOs and tech leaders in Australia and New Zealand:

  1. Reduce friction in the hybrid operating model Lockdowns and the societal move to working from home as the 'new normal' changed people's work expectations. What was initially a business continuity (BCP) response to a global crisis is now seen as best practice for employers and service providers alike. For example, according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the proportion of GP's medical appointments via Tele-Health peaked at 36% (from a base of zero) in May 2020 and remains a significant proportion of all appointments. In 2022 and beyond, CIOs will need to work through new pain points related to the friction of collaboration.
  2. Improve your ransomware readiness Like the rest of the world, ransomware has been front-of-mind for ANZ IT leaders and business leaders alike. Globalisation in cyber threats continues with a number of high-profile attacks against local institutions, such as the May 2021 ransomware attack on the Waikato District Health Board that brought down all IT Systems and phone lines. In addition, the attacks against core service providers like Kaseya impacted many local ANZ customers. There is also an ever-increasing interest from boards requesting information and assurance from IT executives as to their organisation's security posture and readiness. Going forward, organisations should look beyond multilayer prevention strategies and lean toward quick detection and response, spending evenly across prevention, detection, and response solutions.
     
  3. Support an employee-centric retention strategy As net importers of skilled labour, the ANZ region was disproportionately impacted by what came to be known colloquially as The Great Resignation. The IT sectors in both countries had been significant users of skilled migration visas to fulfil resourcing needs. With borders closed, this avenue for resource augmentation closed. The NZ Government sector was further impacted by the Government's policy decision to freeze employees' pay above $100K until 2024. IT leaders will need to find ways to create enough capacity to allow workers time to spend on development.
     
  4. Design an automation platform Build it or buy it, platform integration can yield great benefits. Digital transformation accelerated during the pandemic, and most organisations became more digitalised as formerly manual processes became automated through software. But how they pursue it will depend on their IT maturity.
     
  5. Prepare to report on new environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics CIOs need to become experts in ESG disclosure requirements and recommend to the business the steps needed to meet or exceed competitors' efforts. As of this writing, the Australian Federal Government has not yet called the election, but Australia will have to go to the polls federally by May 21, 2022. The expectation is that governments will need to deliver more rigorous ESG policy frameworks in response to the will of the public and shareholder activism. CIOs should become experts in ESG disclosure requirements and recommend the steps needed to meet or exceed competitors' efforts. It's unclear what policies will be proposed by major parties, but public sentiment may now be outrunning the party policy frameworks. Local industry initiatives and shareholder activism are often outrunning government regulation. Several local examples include Mike Cannon Brookes (Atlassian co-founder) and VC’s attempted takeover of Australian Gas Light Co (AGL), a major Australian energy producer, with the intent to 'decarbonise' the organisation by 2025. Other providers have also announced their plans to close coal-fired power stations without government incentives. And also, Rio Tinto chairman's resignation over the destruction of an aboriginal sacred site at Juukan Gorge resulting from shareholder backlash rather than government penalties.

Read the CIO Priorities 2022 report.

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