The Changing Role of IT Leadership Post-Pandemic

There’s no time to rest on laurels; IT leaders must build on the resiliency they created during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a panel of experts.

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The pandemic has raised the status and prospects of IT leaders within their organizations. But, what now? How can they capitalize on successes? Which pitfalls should they avoid?

These were just some of the questions recently discussed during an IDG TECHTalk Twitter chat, sponsored by Comcast. The robust forum — summarized here — was led by Isaac Sacolick (@nyike), CIO contributing editor and author of Driving Digital. Answers lightly edited for clarity.

Q1: What are some of the actions IT leaders can take to capitalize on their elevated status?

CIOs and IT executives shouldn’t rely on that elevated status forever, tweeted Will Kelly (@willkelly), technical marketing manager: “They need to capture their pandemic lessons learned and prep their team for new post-pandemic challenges.”

Specifically, participants suggested:

IT is no longer a supply-closet role, but a business partnership. Like @UPS would say: “What can I do for you?” — Amélie E. Koran (@webjedi), tactical geek
Ask: “How can I help you with your objectives for the second half of this budget year?" Position your intent as the #CIO to make your team an enabler, speak the business language, open the channel for the business to see you as a key player to enable their success. — Wayne Anderson (@DigitalSecArch), security architect at Microsoft
Focus on more frictionless technologies that allow users to more easily and securely connect and work no matter where they are located. Every tech leader must focus on the humanization of IT when planning solutions. — Jason James (@itlinchpin), CIO, Net Health

Q2: What are some key changes IT leaders made during the pandemic that you hope are maintained as more people are vaccinated and move to hybrid working?

The main message among the TECHTalk participants was: Embrace hybrid working models.

We’ve seen improvements in productivity that I have to chalk up to letting people get their work done in quiet. There are fewer interruptions when we #WFH; we need to figure out how to let that continue in an open-floorplan office where community is also important. — Jay Brodsky (@jbrodsky), business and technology executive, AGU
The reduction or elimination of “location bias” and remote work, in most forms, are completely sustainable and help with things such as hiring, diversity, work/life balance, and increased resiliency. — Koran (@webjedi)

Q3: What potential missteps would you caution IT leaders about as we move forward?

The topic of cybersecurity routinely arose during the IDG TECHTalk discussion.

There’s been a massive migration to cloud computing. But far too many firms didn’t consider security and privacy aspects of the cloud. The time is now to start securing their public #cloud infrastructure. This isn’t a trivial endeavor. — Ben Rothke (@benrothke), information security manager, Tapad
Agreed, Ben. $4.4 million reasons why this is top of mind right now as #ColonialPipeline paid hackers king’s ransom. — Adam Stein (@apstein2), product marketing consultant
And buckle up. This is the new normal. We are reaching the limits of our logistics where a few extra points of latent demand was enough to exceed "just in time" capacity. With elevated climate change, societal unrest, etc., I’m not sure how much better it gets. — Anderson (@DigitalSecArch)

Through all the changes and next steps, IT leaders should remain humble and steeped in reality, according to Arsalan Khan (@ArsalanAKhan), speaker, advisor, blogger:

“An arrogant IT would say we are more important. A prudent IT would say we made things so frictionless that business reached out to us even when they did strategy/planning. Culture and perception of culture play a huge role here.”

Learn more about how the role and status of IT leaders are shifting in the new report from IDG and Comcast Business: “Can IT scale to keep pace with expanding business priorities?”

Check out @IDGTECHtalk for more on that chat and weekly discussions.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.