Top 7 Challenges Facing CTOs in 2021

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August 02 2021

The pandemic, which the world is still reeling from, has brought technology closer to human lives like never before in history—personal and professional.
 
It has, of course, been providing a myriad of opportunities for businesses to grow and adapt to the tectonic shifts happening in the world.
 
This has created a wide array of operational possibilities for CTOs.
 
At the same time, it has also been a period of great turmoil and challenges for even the most experienced and proficient of CTOs. The changes have been massive, and faster than anyone could have imagined or prepared for.
 
While most CTOs face technological challenges by strategizing the offshore software development support they need, all concerns cannot be resolved by such a strategy. The business role of the CTOs has to be filled by the CTOs themselves.
 
We are learning that every business sector is going through a time of transformation–both strategic and technological. And CTOs are responsible for spearheading the same.
 
This underlines the fact that over 74% of global CTOs are expanding their roles to a variety of allied-IT activities. Of course, there are many offshore development companies that help CTOs execute their roles perfectly without being too involved in the same. Hiring such offshore development help can be great for CTOs as they can concentrate more on their strategic roles.
 
The CTOs can still lead the team without involving themselves in hiring, micromanaging, and overseeing every other activity of the offshore development team.
 
In times of such emergencies as the current pandemic, it will surely be a breath of huge relief.
 
But that’s not all, is it?
 
Being a CTO means that you ought to know the top CTO challenges in 2021 so that you can brace yourself for it, and strategically tackle them.
 
Here, we are discussing the 7 most important CTO challenges that anyone discharging the role of a CTO must be aware of.
 
Without further ado, let’s start the discussion.
 
Role of Typical CTOs in an IT Organization
 
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The role of CTOs in an organization is a rather fluidic one from a technology perspective. These roles of CTOs have become increasingly important to the running of a business as CTO is more of an external-oriented role where strategic planning is the core.
 
Now, most CTOs are focused on adapting technologies and solutions that can help a business grow.
 
They largely take care of things that help a business:
 
— grow externally and expand market
— implement diverse services to better serve clients
— adopt technologies to deliver better client support and help
 
The role is fundamentally important for a business that largely depends on technologies to deliver services and expand its market share. In addition, the role also renders a slew of opportunities for professionals to grow business and help it run better.
 
Although most CTOs tend to hire offshore development services for extensive technology innovations and transformations, the challenges still remain. But the importance of CTOs is on the rise everywhere in the world as technologies become even more prevalent in business operations.
 
In 2020, the number of IT Managers will be about 446,129 in the US in the technology sector. The same is forecast to reach 507,918 in 2030.
 
Take a look:
 
 cio_and_it_manager_workforce
 
If you are wondering about the top CTO challenges in 2021, let’s dive deeper into them.
 
Problems Faced by CTOs
 
problems_faced_by_ctos
 
Many think that being a CTO is a bed of roses. Well, it cannot be farther from the fact. Since we all live in a world that’s constantly being transformed in diverse ways, businesses also need to keep up with the same.
 
Or, they are left behind as the completion always does better.
 
So technology officers are left with strategizing for forwarding momentum while keeping an eye on the competition and looking for newer, better technologies on the horizon to adopt it. And they have to also prepare for unprecedented and unexpected challenges like the pandemic that we are all in.
 
A majority of businesses were left out as they failed to adapt to the drastically changing landscapes of running a business, serving customers, and being afloat in the market. Those businesses that have been able to respond strategically to these challenges prevailed while all the others lagged behind. And some perished.
 
We are sure that the companies that were able to keep their heads high and move forward had creative CTOs who developed strategies for the changing world.
 
More importantly, they implemented it quickly, and efficiently.
 
Did they do it all alone? Of course, no! They would have sought help from diverse offshore development services around the world depending on the challenges they had to tackle. But they would still have faced many challenges.
 
And these challenges are more common than we think. Even without a pandemic like now. These problems and challenges are always prevalent in a business in one way or another. So let’s take a look at them a bit closer to keep ourselves prepared in the near future.
 
Shortage of IT Professionals Due to Exponential Demand
 
One of the biggest challenges that CTOs face is the shortage of IT professionals as there is a huge demand for them. Most businesses have gone digital now, and they need skilled and qualified professionals to manage their IT operations.
 
This creates a huge demand for talented IT professionals.
 
Although businesses are willing to spend exceptional remunerations for suitable IT professionals, the rate of attrition makes it impossible to keep the talent in an organization for more.
 
This is because there is always a company that is willing to pay IT professionals more than the other company.
 
Here is a statistic that reveals the shortage of IT professionals from 2017 till 2020:
 
 it_skill_shortage
 
As business operations are largely dependent on IT professionals, this is the most pressing challenge that CTOs face now.
 
And this needs to be addressed rather quickly. Or it can spend the business down the spiral to more devastating results.
 
Managing Legacy Systems As They Age Out and Become Obsolete
 
No matter what kind of a business you are in, you may still have certain old systems in your business taking care of some part of your business. These old systems are called Legacy Systems.
 
It can be anything—from pager to the first inventory management system that you used for your business.
 
As technologies grow, getting rid of such systems and replacing them with the latest ones is crucial for operational efficiency. Sometimes, such systems can even cause latency and reduced efficiency of processes.
 
However, managing them is not an easy task. It has to be done carefully and strategically as it might have unforeseen effects on your business and customer experience.
 
If you are an ISP and have customers that really insist on using the old version of your product, it becomes a challenge.
 
This certainly calls for a strategic solution that needs to work for everyone involved.
 
Increasing Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Concerns with Remote Work
 
When the pandemic hit, it was remote work that saved most of the companies in the world. People could not get out of their homes, but they still worked from their homes.
 
While the perks of such models of work are beyond anyone’s imagination, the challenges are a bit too serious too.
 
The biggest concerns that worried most CTOs were cybersecurity threats and data breaches. As most people worked from home, they were out of the internal networks of businesses. And they used their own systems, internet, and other connected devices.
 
This gave plenty of opportunities for data breach and privacy compromises. CTOs did not know where to expect a cyber-threat from, and were required to always prepare for an attack.
 
As data breaches can be extremely perilous for businesses with devastating financial and existential disasters, this is one of the biggest problems that all CTOs face.
 
Increasing Complexity in Enterprise Technology Environments
 
With growing business operations, more markets, and interconnected international business situations, businesses were required to adopt more complex and extensive enterprise technology infrastructure and systems.
 
This resulted in increased difficulty in the management of the infrastructure. The more complex the system becomes, the more difficult it gets to find any glitches or compromises.
 
This added more stress on CTOs as they are responsible to tackle such issues.
 
Such situations even continue now, worsened by the presence of challenges like the Covid-19 pandemic around the world.
 
Preparing for the Knock-off Effects of COVID-19
 
impact_of_covid_on_businesses
 
The pandemic is showing signs of slowing down in many countries. However, we are yet to reach a stage where we can take the much-needed relief.
 
The majority of businesses are affected by the pandemic.
 
Here is a chart that shows the responses of businesses when they were asked whether the pandemic had affected their business:
 
A majority say that they are. But this too will eventually pass.
 
However, the next biggest challenge that CTOs will have to face is preparing businesses for the aftermath of the effects of Covid-19.
 
It will be a strategic move for the top tiers of technology leaders in most businesses like CTOs and CIOs. We believe that the orientation and efforts need to be started in advance.
 
So that when the real challenge comes, businesses will be all ready for the sail. While there could be challenges, they will know what to expect mostly.
 
And they won’t be blindfolded to move forward unlike when the pandemic hit the world.
 
The Growing Importance of Cloud Computing
 
There is no doubt that cloud computing has become an integral part of carrying out business operations around the world. It is efficient, reliable, safe, and revolutionary.
 
Most businesses that have migrated to a cloud infrastructure setting have already experienced how incredibly value-adding the entire technology is. However, that is after everything has been taken care of, everything has been transferred to the cloud, and everything has been integrated.
 
What is really challenging about the adoption of cloud for CTOs is how they must transform their business into a sustainable and secure business with cloud infrastructure.
 
That’s the real challenge. With the competition adopting cloud technologies to deliver better services to customers, there cannot be any latency in your organization, either.
 
Increased Pressure to Deliver ROI on Investments in Tech Projects
 
There is no doubt that businesses expect their CTOs to help their tech-related projects to bring excellent returns on investments. It is the returns that make every business want to invest. And CTOs must create strategies and plans that can help the project bring better ROIs than expected.
 
However, in the current pandemic situations, it is not always guaranteed to bring desired ROIs. This puts them under a lot of pressure and stress.
 
This is another area of concern for most CTOs in the world as most tech-related projects were overwhelmed thanks to the pandemic.
 
Tips To Effectively Overcome These Challenges
 
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There is no doubt that the role of a CTO is more strategic than anything else.
 
Hence, creating effective strategies and plans to face these challenges is important for a CTO. It becomes even more important in this pandemic era.
 
We have faced the worst that we could have faced in the world now. Until something even worse comes up.
 
And all there is left to do is to learn from the same and use the insights to build a better, more comprehensive business system while keeping safeguards to face similar challenges in the future of the business.
 
Here are a few tips that can help CTOs overcome the top challenges they face in 2021.
 
Let’s take a look:
 
Shortage of IT Professional
 
One of the best ways to address the shortage of IT professionals is to look beyond traditional talent sources for IT graduates. And the best way to do that is to hire offshore development companies.
 
They would have the right:
 

  • Experience and expertise in the domain

  • Technology infrastructure to tackle the issue

  • Trained and qualified professionals to support you

Fullestop has extensive experience in delivering custom offshore service plans.
 
Another option is to look in diverse settings such as hackathons, coding boot camps, and even self-taught programmers. The chances are high that you may even find the best in the industry there.
 
Delivering cross-skill training programs in your organization itself to generate suitable skills is another way to go.
 
Retaining the current employees is also important as hiring the right ones. Create a unique learning environment of growth and prosperity for everyone in your business so that no one wants to leave.
 
That’s tricky, but it works wonders for everyone.
 
Legacy Systems
 
Designing a transformation strategy is what can do the trick here for you. The transfer to newer systems has to be smooth and seamless.
 
While doing the same, the team has to take care of three things:
 

  • The business

  • The customers

  • The employees, and

  • The suppliers

 
Addressing the potential concerns from these in advance or setting up quick-response teams to do that can help alleviate a lot of pain in the transformation stage.
 
There are businesses that offer offshore help with transforming legacy systems. And hiring such a team on a contractual basis can be a great help for your business if you are at a transformational juncture from legacy systems.
 
While you would still be technically leading the team, all you would need to do is to set the expectations and goals right. You can manage the strategic challenges while the dedicated development team can finish the technology transformations.
 
How value-adding is that for your business?
 
Cyber Security Threats and Data Privacy
 
There is only one way to protect data and keep cyber threats at bay—
 

  • Educate the employees about the data protection requirements

  • Implement inventive and state of the-art cyber security systems

  • Create an intelligent and effective response system in case of data breach

  • Develop adequate access control systems to manage data flow and its access

 
Even then, one cannot guarantee that a business can be fully insulated from the challenges of cybercriminals.
 
This is one of the greatest challenges that CTOs have right now.
 
However, having an experienced, expert team working offshore to completely protect the business from such threats could be a great way for CTOs to concentrate on the strategic part of the job.
 
The offshore company can do all the heavy lifting when it comes to protecting your business from cyber threats. And you can do what you do best–plan the next technology transformation for business growth.
 
Growing Importance of Cloud Computing
 
Cloud computing is here to stay. Hence, a business has to keep itself ready for cloud implementation and integration.
 
It reported that, in 2022, the total public cloud service end-user spending in the world will reach a whopping 397 billion US dollars.
 
 cloud_services_spending
 
The role of CTOs here must be to create strategies that will allow businesses to seamlessly transition themselves to the advanced, cloud computing environment. As most businesses in the world are moving to cloud systems, it has become an imperative rather than a strategy.
 
Further, as customers, suppliers, and service providers are all moving to cloud environments, businesses cannot afford to fall behind, either. Hence, it must be in the minds of CTOs to create an excellent and robust plan for the rollout.
 
Even though moving to a cloud platform is a strategic move, the technical challenges require expert hands to tackle. And that’s where consulting an expert offshore development service provider that deals with cloud integration can be a great solution.
 
They will deliver the expertise and industry insights the company needs. And you can emphasize your time on the rest–creating your business’s IT strategies according to its novel cloud capabilities.
 
Complexity of Enterprise Technology Infrastructure
 
Lack of discipline and streamlined approach is the major reason why most businesses have a highly complex enterprise technology infrastructure. The only way to address such challenges is to plan the IT infrastructure development in advance keeping in mind the requirements of the future.
 
Using a system that is both flexible and future-ready can help businesses certainly remove a lot of unnecessary complexity in their systems.
 
And who can do that if your business does not have the capability? An established offshore development company.
 
They would know that the requirements of the business and the needs of the employees have to be kept in mind while implementing IT infrastructure development and growth.
 
Creating a strategy that will allow the development of IT infrastructure without creating complexity is what can help CTOs face this challenge.
 
And offshore help can be crucial for a CTO, as well.
 
Knock-Off Preparations for Covid-19 Effects
 
Ever since the pandemic happened, this was in the store for businesses. Once the pandemic is over, everyone has to brace for the changes that the pandemic brought in to sink in and move forward.
 
This can be physical, psychological, and technological for businesses.
 
As vaccinations are progressing around the world, signs of relief can be observed on the faces of the business community in the world. Sooner, or later, the pandemic is going to take a back seat so that the world can finally move on.
 
Since this is an inevitability, CTOs have to be ready for such challenges. Make strategies, create action plans, and design training programs so that when the day comes, it can be taken care of effortlessly.
 
Increased Pressure for ROIs on IT Projects
 
The pandemic has created a roadblock for many projects and businesses. And when the pandemic is taken care of, we believe that the flood gates of opportunities will open again with the world ready to invest again.
 
This will help businesses bring more ROIs on most IT projects, and surely relieve CTOs as they can finally see the results of their hard work.
 
Also keeping a positive and optimistic outlook towards the world is also key to managing the pressure of the work.
 
Key Takeaways
 
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Everyone agrees that the pandemic has made the challenges a lot more unique and expansive. But the CTOs need to be prepared for such challenges and face them as it is part of their jobs. Technology has been growing at an unprecedented rate, and it keeps disrupting businesses for the better. And the challenges that prevail now and are about to come to light will be common to all CTOs in the business world. As you might have seen throughout the post, the challenges for CTOs are largely the same as last year. But it is more inventive now. While there are newer facets of challenges, they are nothing too big to be solved.
 
An anticipating and strategic CTO is extremely important for a business’s success as they need to not only captain the technological transformation of the business but also keep an eye on the goals to be successful. Growing technologies like AI and Machine Learning are going to help you. However, in a nutshell, if you think about it, having an offshore development company at your disposal can take care of a lot of the worries. You can get all the expertise and experience that you want to have for the successful technological transformations of the company while not constantly being worried about it.
 
However, a successful CTO is also the one who knows when to get help. And that’s why it is important for a CTO to have a strategy that dictates and paves the way to quickly hire the support of suitable offshore development companies.
 
When a CTO can time that right, the timing makes all the difference.
 
And you can execute your managerial and leadership role as a true Chief Technology Officer of the company.

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