It’s a safe bet that none of us are sorry to be saying goodbye to 2020. This new year brings with it the promise of widespread access to a COVID-19 vaccine and, in turn , the hope that 2021 will signal a return to normalcy. But even in this best-case scenario, it will take organizations a significant amount of time and resources to truly recover from the pandemic.

With that in mind, let’s look at five key areas CIOs should direct their focus to lead more effectively and help their organizations succeed in 2021 and beyond.

  1. Resilience: According to Accenture, 74% of CIOs believe their organizations will be forced to rethink their processes and operating models to become more resilient. For many, this means accelerating digital transformation efforts with an emphasis on better responding to customer demand. In addition, CIOs can also expect the cloud to play an increasingly important role in helping companies safeguard their future.
  2. Restructuring: Business needs have changed, and if CIOs are to address them effectively, it follows that the way in which we work must also change as well. Tech leaders must increase and enhance collaboration between the business side of organizations and IT in order to better foster a culture of change. For example, more focus must be placed on agile work environments that enable IT to work collaboratively with the business on new software and technologies to meet emerging business needs.
  3. Reinvention: Success in 2021 hinges on reinvention in numerous areas, perhaps most critically in how companies engage and interact with customers. Specific customer-interaction areas for CIOs to focus on include enabling digital and as-a-service products, real-time channel integration capabilities, and next-generation digital customer experiences. As mentioned above, cloud platforms will also be a key part of this reinvention. For CIOs, the challenge lies in identifying the right combination of these platforms, installing them, and then building best practices to drive the business forward.
  4. Reskilling: Accenture’s research identified that 61% of tech leaders expect to grow the portion of their workforce dedicated to innovation as part of their post-pandemic recovery strategies. With this growth comes the need to reskill the workforce so they can spend less time on systems and infrastructure maintenance, coding, and other operational support tasks and more time innovating inside the organization.
  5. Reduction: Reducing costs is a perennial goal, but savvy CIOs should also view it through the lens of driving innovation and business transformation. By reskilling the workforce and making the best use of what the cloud can offer, more tech leaders can address these equally critical priorities.

For more on the areas outlined above and how to position your organization for success in the year ahead, head over to InformationWeek.