Eton Bridge Predictions for Trends in Digital Leadership in 2022

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You might have recently read our overview of the digital leadership trends of 2021 and the impact they’ve had on businesses recovering from the pandemic, and in general terms.

BLOG: Looking back at our 2021 predictions for Digital Technology Leadership (etonbridgepartners.com)

In this follow-on article, John Smith, Partner within our Digital & Technology Leadership Practice, looks ahead to the trends we predict will form key discussions in 2022, and how digital leaders can push real change as we move into the new year.

Prediction: Talent shortages will drive an increased focus on retention

Retention will continue to be very relevant going into 2022, especially in terms of locational flexibility and work life balance, and the challenges these bring to organisations. Driving retention requires that leaders develop the conversation, making sure that people feel fulfilled and engaged.

This also increases the focus on getting the right hires in the first place, both in terms of skillset and cultural fit.

The candidate led market means that people are going to be a lot more committed to finding the right opportunity that will continue to suit them for the longer term. Candidates are looking for future proofed organisations.

There is a change in focus for ‘must haves’ for a new role, with many candidates placing far more emphasis on company culture or purpose, above more traditional metrics.  ESG is taking centre stage, both from an investment perspective, as well as how a candidate will view a business and their appetite to operate in a responsible fashion.

Prediction: CIO/ CTO to continue their interaction with wider business strategy

The CIO/ CTO role will lead from the front and guide the business on the correct Digital strategy, and how it interacts and forms part of the wider business strategy. Many believe they are now one and the same.

This will likely mean that there will be a requirement at times to balance ‘ambition vs possible’ for an organisation where the senior leaders are taking more of an interest in the Technology area.

But in the drive to democratise data and technology, there is a need to make it transparent and accessible to all , which can only be a good thing.

Prediction: Enhanced growth in the data space

Data continues to be a focus for organisations as the digital agenda and transformation focus continues at speed.

But as with all technology, there are areas of development and improvement.

Several businesses are now looking at data fabric and ecosystems, to provide seamless access to data across multi clouds, systems, and data centres. All of this is linked to the wider idea of data democratisation – and further reducing the perceived gap between the business and technology.

And the enhancement of Blockchain in this domain could also grow to penetrate wider business usage, especially if some of the struggles with scalability/energy consumption can be addressed.

Prediction: Cloud computing will dominate

The shift and drive towards the cloud will continue, as businesses continue to make use of cloud solutions as they arise. Platform-as-a-service adoption is expected to grow and multi-cloud strategies are either in use or being planned.

There is, however, far more of a focus from senior leaders to understand the business benefits and options of the cloud, and how it can be used as a real outcome-led agent for growth and change. This is driving the multi or hybrid cloud approach.

Prediction: Digital twins, a drive on how the physical world is being impacted by digital

Supply chains, factories, rigs, vessels, product life cycles are now all being represented in digital form as part of operations. This enables greater visibility and enhanced decision making, by allowing leaders to “see” the impact of decisions before they happen in the real world. This might also allow for greater creativity in both decision making and solution generation, with leaders taking a more lateral approach.

Prediction: Tech savvy leaders

There will be an increased need for the C-Suite across an organisation to be knowledgeable around technology.

No longer able to declare that they “don’t understand”, leaders will not just be required to recognise the value and capability of technology, but also the ‘why’ of moving to different models or technology enhancements, and how it drives business performance.

Prediction: Edge and Quantum computing emergence

Recent studies from Gartner and IBM suggest that while businesses will continue to focus on IoT, Cloud Computing and AI in the next 2-3 years, there is also the emergence of Edge computing and Quantum computing to consider.

The latter are likely to be seen in a similar way to how AI, machine learning and Cloud were seen previously. That is, an interesting ‘concept’ which hadn’t been brought to life for many less technical business leaders.

Now if we look at where many businesses are, or desire to be, on AI and the like then it may pay for organisations to take a more open-minded or inquisitive view early on about new technology to keep themselves ahead of the curve.

We can only now sit back and see whether our predictions for the year materialise. But regardless of what the year ahead brings, Eton Bridge wishes all our clients a healthy and successful 2022.