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6 key practices for CIOs in cultivating an agile, secure and innovative workspace

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Summary:

In a context of complex and ever-changing digital transformation, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are compelled to innovate continually, focusing on strategies that optimize workspaces, enhance competitiveness, and accelerate time to market. Here are 6 key practices to help them do so:

  1. Ensuring data centralization in IT organization: CIOs must break data silos, ensuring real-time updates and compliance with data protection laws. Implementing Future of Work solutions and innovative all-in-one workspaces such as Klaxoon’s, is vital to prevent the duplication of efforts and optimize internal processes.
  2. Implementing a seamless collaboration in a hybrid workspace: hybrid work is a global mainstay, necessitating solutions that provide a consistent experience for on-site and remote work. Prioritizing tools that facilitate seamless collaboration across devices ensures agile and efficient teamwork. Klaxoon's visual platform emerges as an all-in-one solution, empowering hybrid IT teams.
  3. Modernizing infrastructure continuously: global spending on Software as a Service (SaaS) tools is projected to reach $197 billion in 2023. This changing context also brings in an increasing technical debt to manage. CIOs need to address technical debt management with visual frameworks for efficient identification and prioritization.
  4. Fostering IT teams’ input and value proposition: CIOs hold a considerable impact on company budgets. To fully harness this impact, CIOs must align their growing role with internal teams' and end users' perceptions. Achieving this alignment involves investing in digital platforms to amplify productivity and elevate teams' capabilities.
  5. Leveraging employee experience with efficient shadow IT management: internal teams often adopt new tools without involving IT, leading to security risks and budget challenges. CIOs and CISOs (Chief Information Security Officers) must create a nimble framework using modern tools without compromising security.
  6. Enforcing cybersecurity compliance: 66% of CIOs identify cybersecurity and ransomware as top challenges. Here, compliance with security requirements at every stage, internal process reviews, long-term alignment, and the adoption of Zero Trust technologies, can ensure secure innovation initiatives.

In 2023, no less than 83% of IT leaders mentioned digital transformation duties as a significant part of their challenges (State of the CIOs Study, Foundry). 

As a matter of fact, CIOs today, constantly need to innovate strategies for optimized and efficient workspaces within companies, to enhance competitiveness and shorten the time to market

In a landscape marked by rapid technological advancements, shifting market dynamics, and the imperative for agile responses, continuous innovation becomes paramount. Staying ahead, streamlining processes, and swiftly adapting to emerging trends are all essential facets of this dynamic environment.

In this context, IT teams are also getting to play a key role within companies, taking control over technology-related decisions and budgets. Thus, CIOs also need to constantly work on fostering IT’s value proposition internally.

So, how can you ensure that you work and collaborate efficiently? How can you avoid data duplication, while creating long-lasting innovative processes, and securely centralizing your interactions?

Together, let’s go through 6 of the most effective practices to help CIOs innovate and strengthen their role in the Future of Work.

4 people working on computers gathered in a room around a MeetingBoard, with one of them showing elements to the others on a large screen. | Klaxoon
With these 6 practices, offer your teams both an innovative and safe working environment.

1. Ensuring data centralization in IT organization

On all levels, and especially in IT projects, there is more dynamic data than ever before. This requires companies to transform their working methods and practices since saving and tracking information as it used to be done is no longer efficient. Real-time updated workspaces centralize data, preventing duplicate efforts for teams.

This underscores the importance for CIOs to dismantle data silos and establish effective methods for organizing and monitoring information.

At the same time, they also have to make sure their strategies remain compliant with relevant data protection laws and regulations. Not only does ensuring compliant practices avoid fines and penalties, but it also helps streamline internal processes, prevent security breaches, and even grow business (since it can be a criterion for a potential customer to choose your company or not).

As you expedite your time-to-market and the demand for quicker project deliveries rises, a good way to succeed with your data management and protection is to implement work collaboration management solutions. They include innovative all-in-one workspaces and platforms that can give you many options to find the information you are looking for in a quick and seamless way, without spreading it on several channels.

But how can you encourage your teams to adopt and promote the chosen solution internally?

Depending on how familiar they are with innovative agile tools and methods, the transition might be more or less complex in terms of time and steps. Fortunately, to facilitate the adoption process, work collaboration management solutions often include interactive and shareable formats to sensitize end users on data updates and centralization.

A person answering a single-choice question about the location of team data in a Klaxoon Memo on mobile. | Klaxoon
As an example, a Klaxoon Memo makes it easy to interactively share information about data location and centralization.

2. Implementing seamless collaboration in a hybrid workspace

According to IDC’s Future of Work predictions for 2023, hybrid work stands as “a mainstay for our global future work landscape”.

So, when transforming their working practices with the help of Future of Work solutions, such as work collaboration management,  CIOs need to first look for those that enable their employees to have a similar experience whether they are working on-site or remotely, as well as easily switch from one mode to another.

In addition to seamlessly operating from any location, this experience must also take into account different devices (laptops, mobile, etc.). For an agile organization, all of this will facilitate your daily work as a team, and eliminate any confusion or extra layers that employees might have to think through as they perform their tasks.

For instance, at Klaxoon, we have designed an all-in-one collaborative platform that streamlines effective teamwork and cooperation, accessible seamlessly from any location and across various devices. It includes visual whiteboard features and built-in videoconference for teams meeting in hybrid, but it also goes far beyond. Our suite of engaging and seamlessly integrative tools helps teams work together even more efficiently, and save considerable time in decision-making.

A person working on the Klaxoon platform while connected to a Board, with other people connected remotely by videoconference. | Klaxoon
Whether you're working remotely or on-site, Klaxoon's all-in-one collaborative platform offers a fluid, visual experience.

But to achieve this type of experience, first, you need to get back to the roots, and think about how you can extend it to your whole infrastructure.

3. Modernizing infrastructure continuously

As per Gartner, global corporate expenditure on SaaS tools is projected to hit $197 billion in 2023, marking a substantial 18% rise from the figures recorded in 2022.

This means companies are continuously looking for innovative workspaces that are no longer dependent on physical hardware. They adopt agile solutions that progressively optimize their existing systems, remove redundancies and maintenance burdens for IT, and evolve with new technologies.

Still, there remains a high proportion of technical debt management in IT workload. According to data shared by Protiviti, organizations are now dedicating on average 30% of their IT budgets to technical debt management.

However, there are ways to streamline your actions on this issue, to unlock innovation and efficiency. The game is worth it since according to Gartner, CIOs who actively manage and reduce their technical debt will also see IT service delivery times to the business drop by at least 50%.

Firstly, ensure that you can easily recognize and prioritize your technical debt items, while taking into account dependencies with business or end users. The best way to do this efficiently is to do it visually with a ready-to-use framework. For example, Klaxoon’s Roadmap template can help you prioritize your technical debt management, by clearly identifying the tasks and coordinating your actions in real-time.

The Roadmap template provides a visual space for structuring the management of your technical debt over time.

However, apart from the technical debt, the role of IT is strengthened in many other aspects. This is why a CIO's current responsibilities also include highlighting the strategic importance of their team in the company.

4. Fostering IT teams’ input and value proposition

Another interesting figure from Lenovo’s Global Study of CIOs is: more than 77% of the surveyed leaders stated they have more impact on their company’s overall budget than other C-suite executives. This is quite a considerable impact!

Furthermore, the decisions taken by these CIOs in companies today are going far beyond technology: they impact business processes at their core, as well as employee experience and team collaboration.

However, to be fully involved in business velocity, there is still a need to align this growing role with internal teams' and end users’ perceptions of IT teams. They remain a support function and keepers of security, though they are now also becoming business partners and facilitators.

Another challenge for CIOs is to continuously promote this new state of things, and empower their teams to share their expertise internally. This is happening in the context of talent and skill shortages in IT, where recruitment is becoming even more complex.

To make sure their teams are leveraging their value proposition, productivity tools and solutions can help CIOs deliver greater speed to expertise. This is in line with their ongoing digital transformation process and the adoption of agile methods. According to IDC’s 2023 Future of Work predictions, CIOs who invest in digital platforms and automated learning technologies will see a 40% increase in productivity by 2025, strengthening the perception of their teams’ expertise.

5. Leveraging employee experience with efficient shadow IT management

Shadow IT happens when internal teams in companies adopt new tools and technologies without including IT teams in the process. They can find out some time after, or even not find out at all. This means that these new solutions may not be compliant with security standards or data protection compliance required by IT. What’s more, it lowers budget control and makes the whole system harder to monitor and maintain when an issue occurs.

Gartner stands that in large companies, no less than 30% to 40% of IT spending finally goes to shadow IT. However, despite the security risks this might involve, shadow IT is more of a symptom of an internal need to be more adaptable and flexible when it comes to using new tools and solutions.

In a working environment where more and more no-code and easy-to-use solutions are available on the market, teams are naturally accelerating their processes, and need to be more reactive in finding and testing the right solutions or technologies for their needs.

Both CIOs and CISOs have to be aware of this challenge and be able to create a nimble framework to support the teams and help them work with modern tools without taking any risks. Shadow IT might even offer them a strategic edge since employees will no longer have to choose between security and agility and work together more seamlessly. This will ultimately help improve employee experience and communication.

A person working on a computer displaying a question in a Klaxoon Survey about the need to use new tools internally. | Klaxoon
Interactive formats such as Klaxoon Surveys can also help you gather feedback from teams on tools used or desired internally.

6. Enforcing cybersecurity compliance

This takes us to another topic talking to both CIOs and CISOs: today more than ever, building a solid cybersecurity structure within your company is crucial to ensure secure innovation initiatives.

In Lenovo's Global Study of CIOs, 66% of CIOs highlighted cybersecurity and ransomware issues as being part of their top challenges today. 

This is particularly true during the decision-making process for acquiring a new tool or technology. Cybersecurity-related aspects have a real power to comfort your choice of a new solution or encourage your prospects to buy yours.

Then, you need to make sure you answer compliance and security requirements at every stage, and that you have reliable cybersecurity processes in place. Most importantly, they need to be long-lasting and you have to regularly check that your company is still aligned with them. To do this, think about setting internal process reviews, and creating a solid tracking and monitoring system for cybersecurity rules.

Some CIOs and CISOs also highlight the importance of Zero Trust technologies to secure and streamline how employees work together, especially in a hybrid model.

Zero Trust architecture consists of always verifying user access to a tool or application for each new location from where they are logging in. It stands as one of the most reliable authentication systems today, since companies’ data is no longer constrained to a well-defined perimeter as it used to be. Specifically, collaborative SaaS tools such as Klaxoon’s platform align with the Zero Trust logic by enabling users to securely log in from any location with enhanced authentication and making sure the access to various tools and data is vetted. 

Conclusion

Through these 6 practices, you can see that there is a constant need for CIOs to adapt and transform their work environment while considering innovation, security, data centralization and protection, and many other aspects.

Before, an average IT project could take at least 6 months to complete, with many steps dedicated to heavy tasks and data processing (notes, specifications, validation, etc.). Now, the time to market has considerably reduced through agile transformation in companies, and the work data they share needs to be organized efficiently.

However, that is still not sufficient, since internal teams also need to be empowered and engaged to adopt agile practices and promote their expertise internally. Owing to this, built-in collaborative tools that go beyond whiteboarding and videoconferencing can help CIOs foster high levels of engagement in their teams, wherever they are working.

Klaxoon’s visual platform is an all-in-one solution that can help you do just that while leveraging your IT teamwork and accelerating innovation in your workspace. Contact us to learn more!

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