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A/NZ business leaders must embrace change - report

By Shannon Williams, Tue 21 Dec 2021

Modernising organisational foundations, becoming data driven, and embedding security and compliance are some of the top strategic priorities business leaders must focus on in 2022, according to a new report from research and advisory firm ADAPT.

ADAPT has outlined the Top 12 Strategic Priorities for A/NZ tech & business leaders over the next year, distilled from a community of over 3000 local executives representing major public and private organisations. 

1. Become data-driven

Half of the top 10 digital investment priorities in 2021 related directly to data.
 
Matt Boon, director of strategic research at ADAPT, says, "To succeed in driving efficiencies and delighting their customers in 2022, organisations must grapple with company misalignment for a clear line of sight into data across disparate systems."

2. Modernise organisational foundations

"While 61% of IT leaders seek greater focus on infrastructure modernisation and transformational initiatives, only 26% indicate a commitment to funding it," Boon says.

"Successful organisations in 2022 will be able to overcome legacy mindsets and ways of working to help them deliver on business priorities."

3. Drive organisational alignment

The search for alignment is set to continue in 2022, with executives citing conflicting business priorities as a key challenge to successfully delivering on their technology initiatives. 

Boon says a focus on the removal of organisational silos will help bring about a more aligned leadership approach that will drive efficiencies and benefits across the entire organisation.

4. Embed security & compliance

Boon says that a fast-growing attack surface and stronger Government messaging on the link between organisational security and national security has led to increased organisational focus on cybersecurity compliance and governance, with 76% of CISOs expecting increases to their cybersecurity budgets in 2022.

5. Scale digitisation & automation

"The rate of digitisation & automation will be a major factor determining the success or failure of many organisations in 2022," says Boon.

"Despite the relatively bleak state of process digitisation, its encouraging to see over 40% of digital leaders are planning to prioritise investment in automation and workflows in 2022."

6. Differentiate customer experiences

With 48% of organisations allocating higher funding to improving customer experience across digital & physical channels, Boon says brand loyalty has been replaced by experience loyalty. 

"Organisations in 2022 will work to deliver experiences that stand out in both the physical and digital worlds of tomorrow," he says.

7. Optimise the connected workplace

ADAPT's research suggests over 40% of employees will continue to work remotely following the pandemic. Boon says while 69% of digital leaders are focusing on better enabling remote work, funding must match this focus, as only 22% of respondents plan to allocate IT budgets to improving remote employee productivity.

8. Identify and capture value

A lack of budget for transformational initiatives and difficulty demonstrating their ROI remain key challenges for digital leaders. 

Boon says it's time for organisations to consider return on value in 2022, and focus on adopting an audit-driven approach to consolidation of their IT portfolios in the quest to identify and capture value.

9. Exploit emerging technologies

ADAPT sees the successful adoption of emerging technologies including AI, Machine Learning & IoT underpinning organisations quest to become data-driven and satisfy both customers & employees, who are increasingly selective about experience.

10. Prioritise skills and leadership

Developing new measures to attract, grow and retain talent amid the skills shortage are front of mind for digital leaders in 2022, with 80% of them planning to increase spending on the wellbeing of their people over the next year.

11. Improve digital literacy

Only 43% of executives at the C-suite and Board levels are considered digitally savvy. Boon says in order to gain buy-in and secure resources for transformation projects, digital leaders must better articulate the value of technology to the board by showing the alignment of IT initiatives with broader organisational priorities. 

12. Champion change

Boon says so much potential is at risk without the ability of leaders to champion change, and that overcoming resistance to change will be vital in developing an organisation with an agile mindset able to withstand fast-changing conditions.

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