There is no question that the world of business has changed beyond measure during the pandemic. There were points when nobody knew what lay ahead and, in many ways, that is still the case.
In the face of such unprecedented upheaval, CTOs have been thrust into the spotlight, using their unique expertise to guide their organisations through this period of uncertainty, and onwards to the start of a new era.
But the journey has not been a simple one as Denis Koloshko, CTO at software development and systems integration specialist IDS Group, explains.
With mounting risks to health, a mass move to remote working ensued as organisations across the globe put in safety measures to protect their teams, customers, and stakeholders to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.
Speed was of the essence as the global crisis worsened and called for increasing reliance on a myriad of technological solutions to keep teams functioning.
From methods of communication to information security, access to systems, and the security of personal computers at home — businesses have had to re-visit and revise their procedures. There was also the more practical side to contend with which included setting up VPN accesses, firewalls, new security controls and monitoring tools to avoid costly and reputationally damaging cyber-attacks.
The huge responsibility of moving entire workforces from office to home-based settings, in many cases within a week, has seen CTOs across the globe take on further significance with employees at all levels within their organisations. Once faceless to many, this urgent need for their unique expertise has seen the role become more in-demand than ever before.
Confronted with never-before-seen levels of uncertainty, even the most experienced professionals had to rip up the rulebook and begin again to ensure their people, processes and technology remained relevant.
And with increased responsibility for the welfare and survival of those businesses, many have spent recent times intricately examining their development processes to ensure they’re more efficient and, most importantly, safe.
Striking a new balance
With data security paramount, the news that working from home practices have seen cyber-attacks soar from 5,000 per week in February 2020 to more than 200,000 per week in late April 2021 — an increase of 3,900% — is an unwelcome one for CTOs, who must now work to prevent the exploitation of the many vulnerabilities that have been exposed as a result of the swift transition to remote working.
The mass distribution of laptops and mobile devices has further compounded this issue, increasing the complexity and scale of the task at hand. Managing these risks has become a challenge for CTOs, who must now remain constantly alert to this ever-evolving threat.
Though keeping teams connected has always been important, as businesses move towards an era of hybrid working, this will become more critical than ever. More than just a way to keep in touch, it’s a means of keeping company values alive. Especially considering that remote working can also come with a culture shift — an often-undesirable outcome that must be appropriately monitored and planned for. For this reason, CTOs will need to ensure that their chosen communicative tools allow for a feeling of ‘connectedness’, a continuation of camaraderie, and provide a method of keeping colleague morale and engagement levels high.
Looking towards a CTO-shaped future
Perhaps the biggest change for today’s CTOs — who were once considered to be solely technology focused — is the requirement to be effective communicators and collaborators. Once only sharing their ideas with the board, they have since become visible to employees at all levels of the business — especially when it comes to integrating workforces who may be coming together from all corners of the globe.
As CTOs throughout the world can no doubt attest, navigating a pandemic and implementing a remote working policy for an entire team – and more recently adopting a hybrid approach for many organisations – certainly hasn’t been easy. But thanks to their diverse expertise, many companies have continued to flourish as they begin to move beyond the global crisis.
Looking towards the future, having played such a large role during the Covid-19 outbreak, CTOs will be more instrumental in shaping company evolution and transforming the ways in which modern, forward-thinking teams now operate.
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And as colleagues continue to emerge from home working, and more hybrid arrangements are formed to maintain morale, and bolster motivation and productivity — the role of the CTO will become more diverse, influential, and in-demand than ever before. Because if they don’t move with agility to meet the demands of an ever-changing workforce and – with it – the implementation of specific security measures, they risk being left behind, with a competitor soon stealing a march.