As tech executives close the door on 2022 and welcome 2023, it’s critical to keep an eye on the changing business landscape.
Last year brought numerous developments that are still evolving and will likely continue to affect companies over the next 12 months. A few include the potential for a recession, the increasing desire for remote work, and the need to protect crucial business and customer data from cybersecurity threats.
It’s no secret that most economists believe a recession is imminent in 2023. Inflation rates not seen since the 1980s have led the federal government to take action to cool off the economy by increasing interest rates. Numerous large corporations, including Amazon, Twitter, and Meta, have also laid off thousands of workers.
Increasing prices and higher interest rates make it more expensive for companies to do business. The cost of materials and labor rises, which causes many organizations to pass off the increased expense to consumers in the form of higher prices.
Companies that can’t maintain their cash flow will find it much more costly to borrow from banks to supplement their balance sheet.
From a CIO, CTO, and CISO perspective, the recession will likely lead to hiring freezes or potential layoffs. Executives will need to push their existing workers to handle more duties, especially if employees decide to leave and they can’t afford to replace them.
CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs would be wise to begin cross-training activities with employees now. Cross-training has several benefits for both companies and their workers. First, it minimizes the knowledge lost from employees who leave for greener pastures.
During cross-training, employees holding various roles share their knowledge with each other. That way, if a worker leaves, the remaining employees who have undergone cross-training can reduce the risk of significant loss of capability and performance. The company should be able to bounce back quickly.
Cross-training also reduces boredom among employees who engage in it. It’s not uncommon for workers to spend several years in a role before transferring to a new position.
Once they’ve mastered the skills that make them successful in their initial role, they may seek new challenges. Cross-training can provide the stimulation that workers need to remain engaged in the business.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, most organizations had to close their offices due to widespread lockdowns. Employees worked from home, and many became accustomed to the lack of a commute and the comfort of working from a home office.
While most organizations have fully reopened their doors, employees are still voicing the desire to work remotely. In fact, remote or hybrid work is one of the most sought-after benefits by new employees.
Companies supporting remote or hybrid work environments are more likely to retain their workers over the long term. CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs can help their company’s remote work initiatives by ensuring that the proper tools are available to their teams.
Messaging tools like Slack, virtual meeting software such as Zoom, and other collaborative programs are all essential for effective remote and hybrid work.
CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs involved in making remote work a reality must also decide how to protect critical business data from hacks and viruses. Individuals working from home typically don’t have the extensive security networks that a business office might. As such, they are more vulnerable to malware and hackers.
Tech executives must decide how to minimize these risks. Examples include requiring employees to use company-issued laptops and providing connections through workplace VPN networks.
More businesses are choosing to move their operations to the cloud, which has almost limitless storage opportunities and offers greater access to cheaper software that’s typically much more expensive when installed on-site.
However, moving operations to the cloud does have its risks. In particular, there’s more potential for data hacks that can severely impact a company’s reputation and potentially hurt customers, especially when the business is storing sensitive information.
All CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs must recognize the advantages and disadvantages of moving operations to the cloud and provide up-to-date protection for business and client data.
Severe hacks have the potential to shut down an organization for days. In the worst cases, a business can be liable to customers for stolen personal data. Cybersecurity professionals must be aware of potential risks and stay ahead of the curve if they expect to protect their organizations successfully.
Over the past few years, automation technology has seen significant advancements, including in AI and machine learning. All tech executives should remain familiar with these new developments and incorporate them into business operations when there are advantages to doing so.
AI tools can reduce employees’ time on redundant tasks, allowing them to focus on responsibilities that add value to the organization.
AI is especially prevalent in customer service areas through the use of chatbots. Organizations that regularly interact with their customers should investigate how chatbots can resolve basic customer inquiries, circumventing the need for clients to contact the business via phone, email, or in-person visits.
Automation tools are also available for advanced data analytics. Now, more than ever, executives need timely insight to make critical business decisions. Deploying data analysis tools allows executives to receive information quickly in all business areas, including finance, accounting, marketing, and sales.
CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs should collaborate with top executives in each department to understand the information needs they have. They can suggest specific technical tools to assist them, such as a new ERP or HCMS.
When implementing a major new system, it’s essential to get buy-in from the departments that are most likely to use it. That way, everyone understands the features they can expect from the system and how it can positively impact their department.
Technology is constantly changing, and CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs must stay current on new advancements. What worked five years ago may be obsolete in today’s business world. They should remain current on technological trends and strive to incorporate current best practices into their organizations.
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