The top three IT challenges businesses face currently are dealing with security concerns, moving to the cloud and system integration.

We are midway through 2021 and the recovery that was supposed to follow after last year’s pandemic is hardly in sight. Continuing waves of pandemic infections continue to impact the lives of people, businesses, and economies in South-east Asia.

According to Krishna Baidya, Director of Information & Communications Technologies, Frost & Sullivan: “Though the commencement of vaccination programs, strong rebounds in consumer demand, and services sector recovery showed early promise, multiple fresh outbreaks and lockdown extensions, plus slower-than-expected vaccine administration are likely to push full recovery beyond 2021.”

Also, Frost & Sullivan’s data point to three top IT challenges businesses face currently: dealing with security concerns (33%), moving to the cloud (31%) and system integration—managing multi-vendor solutions (30%). The firm found that dealing with COVID-19 challenges continued to be a top priority (42%) for most companies in the region, followed by improving customer experience and satisfaction (33%); enhancing operational efficiencies (31%); automating business processes (29%) and boosting creativity and innovation (26%).

The problem is: even when businesses recognize the above issues, the “how” part of the equation still remains unclear. “Many lack the necessary knowledge and expertise internally, both from a technology and process perspective and a bigger question on their existing business model,” said Baidya. “While they are trying their very best to transform themselves, they also have the arduous task of customer experience, employee experience, security, and cost.”   

Business continuity remains a challenge

Said Haji Munshi, Group CEO, Cloud Kinetics: “With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing down, one key challenge that businesses will need to continue to deal with is business continuity, especially as physical lockdowns and a hybrid model of working become the new normal. While many companies have already implemented business continuity plans, others have not fully addressed the unprecedented changes brought about by the pandemic. Businesses must put a robust digital strategy in place to remain relevant in this ever-evolving business landscape.”

As a result of the transformed circumstances, Baidya said CIOs have to do more with less now as the budget is not flowing as before, and the challenge is to deliver business value beyond just maintaining business continuity. Along with this, organizations have to transform for the future, be digital-first, have agility at the core, and adopt hybrid work to survive.

Achieving all of the above is a tall order but CIOs can consider the following advice from their seasoned peers, analysts and experts.