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Breaking Barriers: New Research Sheds Light on IT’s Influence over Shaping the Future of Work

March 28, 2017 by Amanda Maksymiw

What does the future hold for businesses?

There’s no crystal ball to see what lies ahead, and times are a-changin’ faster than most companies can keep pace.

Digital natives are entering the workforce and have different expectations for technology while older generations have established processes and their own set of expectations. These inter-generational dynamics can create internal conflict as teams work together and learn each other’s preferences.

At the same time, the workforce is becoming increasingly distributed. Companies find themselves at varying stages of embracing flexible work policies to support employees based outside of the traditional office space. The physical four walls of the office are also changing to support greater collaboration, mirroring the technological changes affecting how people engage with one another.

Creating a harmonious work environment that produces quality work is challenging enough. The process is compounded, however, by technological advancements and top-down pressures to maintain productivity and fast-track innovation. Today’s business leaders are in uncharted territory when it comes to being digital transformation advocates. As these challenges take root, do you have the right team at the helm?

IT leaders are raising their hands, but business leaders are holding them back

IT success is a critical factor in creating the future of work that businesses are envisioning. Too often, IT leaders are relegated to “keeping the lights on,” which can inhibit them from building the type of forward-looking strategies that enable their companies to improve productivity, efficiency, and business outcomes.

How can IT leaders elevate their role, make the case for innovation, and take the lead in shaping the future of work? Our new report, “Breaking Barriers 2020: How CIOs are Shaping the Future of Work,” tackles this very question and more. By pooling insights from 900 IT leaders, 6,600 workers, and 3,300 teenagers from the app generation – the talent of tomorrow – we got to the heart of evolving employee preferences and explored the opportunities and challenges facing IT leaders today.

What should IT leaders be thinking about right now when it comes to future of work?

  • Drive innovation – IT leaders are craving a challenge and a seat at the innovation table. More than three quarters of leaders believe that the IT department’s ability to innovate is critical to business success and that they have the ability to drive it. But with inadequate time to focus on innovation initiatives, this goal is out of grasp for too many of today’s IT leaders. It doesn’t have to be this way, particularly if the right steps are taken now to streamline operations and consolidate applications that no longer serve greater business needs.
  • Move to the cloud – If you’re not already in the cloud in some capacity, then you’re considered behind. Ninety-seven percent of organizations will have a formal cloud strategy in place by the end of this year, and 92 percent will have an assigned cloud champion to hold IT teams to task. But for the cloud to provide a true competitive advantage, just being there isn’t enough. It’s what’s there and why that will make the difference.
  • Focus on revenue generation, not cost reduction – Pressure is mounting as IT leaders are expected to reduce expenditure; however, they must also be focused on owning broader goals against which they can be evaluated. Rather than being cornered into cost cutting, pick the right battles to show cross-functional value with technology that affects the future of work. If nearly 50 percent of IT leaders believe they aren’t being measured correctly, consider new sets of metrics that better reflect progress toward shaping the future of work. 
  • Create consumer experiences – A refreshing UX can separate your average technology experiences with memorable, immersive, habit-changing experiences. It is the foundation for technology adoption, and this is how IT leaders can demonstrate ways in which their investments have a positive, lasting impact on peoples’ day-to-day work. Seventy-six percent of IT leaders believe that the success of new technology depends on user satisfaction, and this has the potential to be a true differentiator for those who put UX at the center of their innovation.
  • Reduce complexity – IT teams spend an overwhelming amount of their time – 83 percent – managing IT and communications platforms and resolving user issues, making it difficult to focus on anything else. For IT leaders to be successful, they need to simplify and streamline operations to be true agents for change. 

IT leaders are poised to define and influence their organization’s future, and they stand ready to show the modern enterprise what’s possible by bridging the here-and-now with the promise of tomorrow.


Download the full report and empower yourself to make the future of work a reality.

Amanda Maksymiw
Amanda Maksymiw

Amanda is responsible for setting and managing the Fuze content marketing strategy including creating, producing and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she's worked with fast-growing tech companies and VCs on developing content marketing, influencer marketing and social media strategies. Amanda received her BBA in Marketing from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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