As the old saying goes: if you aren’t getting better, you’re getting worse. For today’s technology decision makers dealing with shifting budgets, searching for the right staff or the need to support and secure new technologies, challenges abound and there’s little room for error.
Here are four tips for IT leaders to help make 2019 a successful year.
1. Make culture a priority
The value of having a strong culture in any business cannot be overstated. In some cases this may require a top-down rethink about what defines the company, the employees and management who work there. This includes taking the actionable steps needed to foster equality, representation and clear opportunities for advancement.
According to a recent study by research firm Gartner, approximately 46 per cent of CIOs note that culture can be a barrier to digital transformation success. From a pragmatic standpoint, companies can benefit from more highly skilled and engaged staff, a better reputation within the community and a strategic advantage by better positioning the company for innovation and organizational success.
2. Lead to inspire
IT research firm IDC notes that 60 per cent of CIOs will soon complete infrastructure and application re-platforming using cloud, mobile, and DevOps, fostering a suitable environment for accelerated enterprise digital transformation. The difference between a good and great leader can boil down to the ability to effectively rally the troops on a consistent basis. IDC also notes that by 2020, 40 per cent of CIOs will use vision-driven and mission-driven leadership to inspire — potentially leading to strong digital transformation capabilities.
This involves opening up the lines of communication and ensuring that the business and technology vision has been clearly articulated. A strong vision is one that is flexible, adaptive and takes into account internal input to maximize success.
3. Work on your people skills
The stereotype of the “all-tech, all the time” technology leadership doesn’t fly in today’s world. According to Gartner, 40 per cent of IT staff will be categorized as “versatilists,” or personnel who straddle both IT and business sides.
In addition to keeping up on technology trends and benefits, it’s important that IT leaders focus on their people skills as well. This means becoming a better speaker, being more emotionally intelligent and becoming better storytellers — leading by example — to be able to communicate how and why technology is important to digital business success.
4. Prepare for the unknown
Given the pace of digital-business, it’s wise to recognize that technology leaders and their staff will always have gaps in knowledge — and we can’t possibly know everything. But it’s about keeping up with the trends, regularly improving skills, and valuing business partnerships to help get the job done. Today’s IT leaders also understand that it’s not always about tech, and that IT and business priorities must be more closely aligned.
This involves establishing trust between the IT department and the business units to better understand how emerging tech such as blockchain, ecommerce platforms and AI can impact operations. Then determine how to take advantage of these new tools — and scale the business moving forward.