Today, the “I” in “CIO” stands for “innovation.” In 2022, CIOs will be called upon to embrace “future fit” flexibility for their technology and innovation initiatives, IT teams, and the enterprise itself. The concept is rooted in increased agility as a response to ongoing change and stands counter to “digital sameness,” defined by risk-free, cookie cutter technology solutions that typically result in flat productivity and bureaucratic stagnation.
It’s not difficult to understand why Forrester is recommending tech infrastructure geared for systemic risk and ongoing uncertainty, but to navigate this new level of corporate agility successfully, the C-suite must understand and embrace a future fit philosophy.
Predictions for big tech in 2022
To understand future fit, look first at predictions for what’s next in big tech. The volatility caused by two years of global pandemic has led big business into uncharted technology waters. Forrester recommends the future fit model to create enterprise organizations that are adaptive, creative, and resilient in their approach to technology and business.
The traditional “three Ps” (i.e., people, process, and product) are out in favor of an updated model, which prioritizes people, practices, and platforms in a human-centric model that embraces investment in new, short-term strategic partnerships. Trends and innovations driving the move toward future fit technology and the new three Ps include:
- A transition to ubiquitous computing, aka ubicomp, will continue to integrate technology with every human experience.
- Vendor management will get an agility upgrade in response to third-party risk associated with supply chain disruption.
- Creative AI systems will earn their first patents and spark increasing experimentation.
- Marketing technology tools will be increasingly geared for omnichannel integration.
- “Anywhere work” may fail. Forrester predicts one-third of hybrid or remote work efforts won’t yield the hoped-for results.
- Cloud-native will take center stage.
- Long promised, slow deploying technologies will finally emerge, including edge computing, internet of things (IoT), smart meters, electric vehicles, and 5G.
With all this expected in the next year, creativity, resilience, agility, and measurable value will be the top CIO buzzwords in every industry.
How can CIOs turn these words into practical, measurable goals to achieve future fit status?
Future fit as a model for change
CIOs should follow four primary steps to move their organization toward future fitness:
- Create and build a more collaborative culture to connect employees, customers, and the organization itself. Keep in mind that all relationships atrophy, and commit to this process as one of continuous improvement.
- Build innovative technology systems and processes to foster creative thinking. This requires process changes to eliminate command and control structures while empowering frontline leaders.
- Create a more strategic and agile technology portfolio to respond to the latest trends, regulatory environments, and adaptive governance structures.
- Build redundancy into your organization by planning for alternative futures. Market volatility should reinforce the idea that “failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Ludwig Melik, author of the Future-Fit Manifesto, wrote in a 2021 article for Forbes, “Being future-fit is not a sprint, but rather a mix of 100-meter dashes and ultra-marathons that need to be carefully planned and executed over time, or delivered with great ability, depending on the situation.” Given the accelerating pace of change, what's the immediate focus for CIOs in 2022?
Top priorities on your CIO’s task list for 2022
What worked yesterday won’t continue to carry over to the future. Everything has changed, from supply chain management to workplace environments. For CIOs, an overwhelming task list awaits, but there are a few immediate priorities for 2022:
- Cybersecurity is at the top of the list this year. Data breach costs skyrocketed during COVID, so now is the time to add AI and machine learning tools along with additional human talent to support your cybersecurity goals.
- Shore up your cloud computing models. Most enterprise organizations shifted to hybrid work models even as the pandemic forced remote work arrangements. Reevaluate infrastructures with an eye toward streamlining productivity and securing redundancy.
- Enhance and deploy data analytics tools as you move into the new year. CIOs will be expected to measure the data they’ve been capturing as a key driver of corporate decision-making in 2022.
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