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CIO Speak

There are heightened expectations from the CIO

The pandemic has revealed the gaps in ineffective and unnecessary work processes, says Mariam A-Buahin, Director and Head of Digital Banking and Corporate Partnerships, Standard Chartered Bank.

Do you agree that the pandemic may have created the opportunity for alternative managerial and leadership styles? What are the changes that we can expect at the top levels in 2021?

Most companies, hard hit by Covid-19 finally appreciating the reality of the world evolving towards high tech process and accomplishing vast work with small teams. Many have had to make abrupt shift which seemed almost impossible prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amid the disruption, we have been pushed to become sensitive to change. The new normal is working from home, having virtual meetings but definitely achieving the company’s set target or even more, to normalise the losses resulting Covid-19.

The pandemic has revealed the gaps in ineffective and unnecessary work processes. The traditional 8 hours of work has been put to intense scrutiny, realising one can alternatively achieve much within less hours. Leaders will begin to reevaluate their organisational goals.

The changes we may expect may be positive and negative. And in some institutions, some of these adjustments are ongoing. Management in most companies will want to reduce employ and engage less people who are multi-faceted and get them to achieve the work of a mass number.

The digital transformation in businesses is moving at a fast pace than earlier due to the pandemic. There are heightened expectations from the CIO to put in place strategies to set a company apart from others. We are definitely not in normal times, so exceptionality is highly expected.

Going forward into 2021, what are the changes that we can expect in IT decision making and IT spending? Does the CIO need to start preparing for this?

According to a research by IDG Communication, Inc., one of the world’s leading tech company, IT purchase decisions will be controlled more centrally within the IT Organisation (50%), many organisations will see the decision-making process extended (49%) and despite the previous uncertainty around technology budgets, there is a promising outlook as 76% of ITDMs say their tech budgets will either increase or remain the same over the next 12 months.

The strategic investments towards a productive 2021 will be to constantly upgrade processes, replace outdated technology. The CIOs will definitely have to be prepared for this. They will be required to be up to the task in offering quick solutions and advice in making certain IT purchases to improve the company’s brand efficiency. The 2021 CIO will constantly be learning and relearning in the space of minutes or seconds.

Some companies may be prepared for the shift but be unable to make the financial obligation. The CIO is expected to find alternative tech options to suit the company’s budget.

In your opinion which technology platforms have an exciting future in 2021? Who would be the new and unknown technology winners in 2021 and where would you lay your bets?

Artificial Intelligence. Machines that can do a lot of work for people. It becomes disruptive because most people may get out of work. And disruptive as an innovation for companies to integrate into their processes. It is scalable and cuts cost for most companies. Also has remote capability. One can sit at home and work efficiently. Using a software to replace salaries of a mass number, thereby saving cost and saving time.

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