Hybrid Work Challenges for CIOs

Seagate solutions empower CIOs in the hybrid work landscape.

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In recent years, CIOs have been under fierce pressure to accelerate digital transformation, but cost control remains a key concern. It’s 2023, and many CIOs are expected to deliver the same results with fewer resources and less margin for error. This means adapting technology strategies to address obstacles and align with business goals. Here are the top CIO hybrid work challenges for 2023 and what CIOs can do to solve them.

Balancing Economics and Well-Being in the New Normal

COVID-19 has reshaped work, and there’s no going back. CIOs now grapple with the challenge of balancing employee well-being with what’s best for the company’s future. Today, their key challenges include:

Growing Smartly and Maintaining Employees’ Health

Human capital is the most valuable resource within an organization. Pure technology investments can only go so far. Putting humanity back into technology completes the other half of the equation. Here’s some guidance on how companies can balance technological and human interests.

  • Prioritize Communication: Communication is critical to keeping employees informed and engaged. Regular check-ins, town halls, and company updates can help employees feel connected and supported, even when working remotely.
  • Provide Training and Support: Humans reject new technology for a variety of reasons, so CIOs must support their teams with training and support to help them adapt. This can include training on cybersecurity, data privacy, and remote work best practices.

Recessions, Inflation, and Hybrid Work 

In response to the new normal, CIOs must reinvent their technology infrastructure to support multiple types of work, ensuring that they:

  • Invest in the Right Technology: CIOs should invest in technology that enables employees to work remotely, collaborate, and communicate effectively. This includes video conferencing, collaboration tools, project management software on the employee-facing side, and robust architecture tools to support them.
  • Adopt an Agile Approach: Composable and scalable technology infrastructures allow CIOs to respond to disruptions while maintaining seamless productivity. 

Performance Analyses

Like other pieces of the hybrid work puzzle, performance analyses will look different in the upcoming years. To adapt, CIOs can:

  • Foster a Culture of Trust and Transparency: When CIOs are open and honest with employees about company goals, challenges, and expectations, it helps build trust and improve employee morale. This transparency goes both ways.
  • Listen to Understand: Encouraging employees to discuss their goals, challenges, and expectations creates valuable opportunities for professional development and employee engagement.

When Face-to-Face Work Goes Digital 

Today’s CIOs are managing and modernizing outdated legacy systems, ensuring that employees are equipped to work outside the office and covering every facet of the technology architecture to protect critical assets. These top CIO challenges are seemingly endless, but three major components can help CIOs get it right. 

Data and Analytics 

Leveraging data and analytics helps CIOs gain insight into how employees adapt to remote work and identify areas for improvement. By monitoring metrics such as employee productivity, engagement, and satisfaction, CIOs can make data-driven decisions to improve remote work processes and technologies. 

Business Priorities 

A 2020 study from Boston Consulting Group found that 70% of digital transformations fail. The same study found that companies with clear business-aligned strategy, communication, and monitoring could flip the success rate from 30% to 80%, with CIOs at the forefront of this movement. 

CIOs provide authoritative guidance to other business leaders to align their digital strategies with the organization’s business priorities. Working closely with other C-level executives enables CIOs to identify and prioritize the most critical business needs. This information can help develop a technology strategy to support priorities instead of retrofitting business goals to the technology. 

Information Architecture and Database Systems 

Lastly, CIOs should consider the impact of remote work on information architecture and database systems since it impacts how data is stored, accessed, and secured. CIOs should ensure their organization’s information architecture and database systems can support remote work processes and consider upgrading or investing in new database systems and software to support the organization’s remote work needs. 

Managing Cybersecurity Across Hardware and the Cloud

A hybrid work model means an overhaul in cybersecurity. According to Gartner, hybrid work results in increases in cybersecurity and risk management spending. CIOs need a three-pronged approach for solving this challenge.

Security Threats 

New technology brings more complex security threats and an increased attack surface. CIOs should stay informed about emerging security threats and implement a comprehensive security program that includes risk assessments, vulnerability scanning, penetration testing, and —most importantly— regular security training for all employees, whether hybrid or in a traditional role.  

Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution, especially in a hybrid or multicloud setting where an organization’s cloud architecture interacts with the company-controlled data center or private cloud IT infrastructure. Here are some key considerations: 

  1. Access Controls: Robust access controls, such as multi-factor authentication, ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data, systems, and controls. Network segmentation further restricts access to specific users or groups. 
  2. Network Architecture: A carefully designed network architecture with advanced data protection options ensures that traffic between on-premises infrastructures and cloud-based resources is properly secured,comparable to virtual private network (VPN) connections, firewalls, and other security measures to protect against unauthorized access. 
  3. Data Protection: Sensitive data must be appropriately secured both during transit and at rest — think encryption to protect data in transit and data at rest and data loss prevention (DLP) solutions to monitor and prevent data leaks.
  4. Compliance: CIOs should verify that the organization’s cloud migration process complies with relevant regulations and standards, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). 
  5. Vendor Security: Careful evaluation of cloud service providers ensures that they have appropriate security controls in place. This includes reviewing vendor security policies and procedures, conducting security audits, and requiring vendors to undergo regular security training. 

Ongoing Security Monitoring

Security monitoring is a continuous process within the cloud. Implementing ongoing security monitoring across hardware and the cloud enable CIOs to detect and respond to security incidents in real-time. This may include using security information and event management (SIEM) tools, intrusion detection systems, and other monitoring solutions to identify and investigate security threats. 

Customer Experience From Home 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many organizations to shift their customer experience strategies to a digital environment, presenting another challenge for CIOs. Some ways CIOs can create quality customer experiences without physical locations include:

Consumer Technology Safeguards 

CIOs should ensure their organization’s digital channels are secure and free from vulnerabilities that risk fraud or data breaches. Implementing strong safeguards, such as authentication protocols, encryption, and other security measures to protect customer data protects company assets and the company’s reputation in a competitive and noisy online world. 

Customer Experience Initiatives 

CIOs should work closely with marketing and customer experience teams to prioritize digital customer experience initiatives. Many CIOs address these challenges by adopting new technologies supported by artificial intelligence. However, AI-supported technology is data-hungry, so CIOs need robust data management and storage systems to power them. Reevaluating the data architecture and ensuring that it can support the addition of artificial intelligence is a must.  

Overcome Hybrid Work Challenges with Seagate 

Hybrid work presents significant challenges for CIOs and CTOs. However, with the right technology solutions and strategies, they’ll be well-equipped to overcome digital transformation obstacles in a hybrid work environment. Seagate Exos data storage solutions and devices offer scalable, reliable, and secure storage solutions to help organizations manage their data and analytics, maintain customer experience, and implement advanced cybersecurity measures across hardware and the cloud. Organizations can optimize their performance and cost structure, prepare systems to handle the increased workload and demands of hybrid work and provide employees with flexibility for working from home or the office. It’s the final piece to the hybrid puzzle. 

See how we’re helping companies on the road to digital transformation with our latest case study, or contact us for a demo.