The new year will usher in both new and familiar problems for organizational leaders. Many people have been hopeful about a full return to the office. However, the new highly contagious COVID-19 variant Omicron, which is infecting millions at breakneck speed, may affect such plans. This new variant is causing many organizations to extend, if not make permanent, their fully remote or hybrid office plans. Furthermore, pandemic-related supply chain snags will continue, and possibly worsen, in coming months.
“As we go into 2022, I think it’s this theme of just volatility, and it’s not one particular type of volatility,” Shane Grant, Danone North America CEO, told CNBC. “[There is] enormous volatility in our supply chain. It’s everything from input availability, capacity, transportation, labor, it’s COVID adaptations by ways of working adaptation. It’s this accordion economy of sort of stop-and-go and the adaptations required.”
However, the situation is far from hopeless. Linda Kahangi, Chief Information and Operations Officer at Nomadix, shared these four digital transformation trends with Enterpriser Projects, which CIOs should consider for shaping their plans for potential challenges in 2022:
- Prepare to make your IT infrastructure hybrid adjustments permanent. Hybrid work probably isn’t going away, so be sure to prepare your IT and security infrastructure for this new reality. If your organization relied on temporary solutions for hybrid work at the start of the pandemic, you may need to begin overhauling them for good.
- Transform your business continuity and disaster recovery plans. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed that many organizations lack sufficient preparedness plans for dealing with disasters. In the past, these plans tended to focus on relatively small-scale in-office emergency situations, like fires. But in remote and hybrid environments, leaders will need to reconfigure their emergency plans for entirely new scenarios, such as a problem in your organization’s distributed infrastructure. “You may want to consider having your employees in business-critical functions on diversified endpoints (which likely means subsidizing that cost) to mitigate the risk of a widespread business interruption,” Kahangi states.
- Prioritize innovation and operations equally. With a need for greater speed and flexibility, leaders may find they are better off leaving traditional organizational silos behind in the new year. Teams involved in development, innovation, and business may need to begin working together on new product development, testing, and validation, according to Kahangi. Additionally, performance and regression testing and security scanning should be embedded in the process from beginning to end. This will help cut back on the amount of time and resources needed to get projects done.
- Use empathy and put your people first. Your organization is a lot more than a business with technical components— it’s also people. In a remote or hybrid environment, your employees will need more guidance for adapting to changes and new systems than they may have in the past. One way to do this is to apply marketing communication principles when communicating with your workers. “As you adapt operations, develop communication plans that treat employees like customers you’re trying to convince to buy your product,” Kahangi writes. “‘Market’ your new system or process to employees with proactive messages that explain what’s in it for them and how it will make their jobs easier.”
COVID-19 will undoubtedly continue to present new challenges for organizational leaders in 2022. By thinking ahead and staying flexible, your organization will be able to quickly and successfully adapt to these challenges in the coming months.
Create Leaders in Organization
IEEE has partnered with Rutgers Business School to offer the IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA. Designed specifically for groups of ten or more within an organization, this program operates entirely online. It features topics including business strategy, managing product development, finance, negotiation, managing human capital, intellectual property strategy, and transformational agility.
Participants will learn how to make organizational decisions with both technical and operational considerations. After developing an understanding of how different functional groups interact to achieve overall goals, they will learn to apply their newly developed business skills to better align their technical capabilities with business strategy.
Registration is now open for individuals interested in participating in next year’s sessions. Two sessions are available. One begins in March; the other in September. The deadline to register for the March session is 4 February. The deadline to register for the September session is 15 August. Individuals interested in registering can contact an IEEE account specialist.
The IEEE | Rutgers Online Mini-MBA for Engineers is also offered to organizations interested in getting access for groups of 10 or more. If you are interested in group access and pricing, including the option of a customized capstone designed for your organization’s needs, contact an IEEE account specialist.
Kahangi, Linda. (13 December 2021). Digital transformation: 4 CIO tips for 2022. Enterprises Project.
Rosenbaum, Eric. (2 December 2021). CEOs across the market, economy agree on one 2022 prediction: More volatility, no end to Covid. CNBC.