As industries bounce back from the economic turbulence of the last two years, International Data Corporation (IDC) believes there are three broad themes that will shape the tech investment decisions of CIOs and the organisations they represent through 2022 and beyond.

These are: the implementation of a digital-first strategy; the quest for digital resiliency; and the pursuit of hybridity.

This is the word from IDC’s group vice-president and regional MD for the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa, Jyoti Lalchandani, who attributes the first of these themes to the rapid acceleration of digital transformation seen since the start of 2020.

“The pandemic has led many organisations in the region to bring their digital road maps forward by up to two years and increasingly shift towards a digital-first strategy,” says Lalchandani.

“This means choosing digitalisation options over non-digital options as a rule, while implementing or enhancing new products, services, channels, customer/employee experiences, and operational processes.

“We are increasingly seeing organisations across the region embrace this approach, and expect it to proliferate further over the year ahead.”

He adds that the uncertainty wrought by the pandemic has also put the corporate focus on business resiliency.

“However, in order to be successful in the future, organisations need to go beyond business resiliency and strive instead for digital resiliency.

“While business resiliency tends to focus on anticipating a crisis and preparing for it, digital resiliency is focused on rapidly adapting to any business disruption,” Lalchandani explains.

“It is not just about recovering and going back to business as usual but also about capitalising on the newly changed conditions.

“To this end, being digitally resilient requires resiliency across many parts of the organisation, all working together, including in areas such as leadership, finance, workforce, operations, brand, customers and ecosystems.”

In a recent survey of large and medium-sized organizations conducted by IDC across the Middle East, 40% of the respondents said they are now actively investing in developing their digital resiliency capabilities.

Lalchandani believes these resilience strategies must be underpinned by “hybridity”, and urges organisations to embrace digitally augmented hybrid approaches and models across their business and IT processes and functions.

“Digital strategies need to enable seamless customer engagement not only through digital channels, but also through digitally augmented physical stores and branches,” says Lalchandani. “The workforce now needs to be supported with technology to flexibly deliver via a hybrid model of working from home, in the office, or anywhere else.

“And at the same time, digital transformation is enabling hybrid business models that create new non-traditional revenue streams through ecosystem partnerships, while even digital innovation itself is becoming hybrid – with in-house innovation running alongside co-innovation with partners and customers.

“As such, designing for hybridity and managing hybridity will be major priorities for CIOs in 2022 and beyond.”