Like many CIOs, I often speak with the media to comment on current topics. Over the past couple of months, the Wall Street Journal has featured Accenture several times. I thought this might be a good time to draw you into the dialogue with CIOs from many different companies—and I’d love to hear your thoughts on some of these articles. 

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Headlined: “How CIOS in 2020 Rallied Their Companies Around Remote Work”, an article on the role of CIOs in overseeing new ways of working had inputs from companies as diverse as Bank of America and SurveyMonkey. I shared how my team had made individual calls to employees to make sure they were ready to transition to remote work. And how we managed to send more than 80,000 desktop computers to our people’s homes. An article titled: “The Morning Download: CIOs in 2020 Made Sure Workers Were Remote, but Not Alone” also picked up the fact that our responsibilities didn’t end at the enabling technologies for remote working.

On a slightly different note, but still focused on the CIO, a feature at the end last year looked at “CIOs’ Favorite Reads of 2020”. I named a couple of suggestions that explored topics that reinforce my own view—that IT today is all about creative thinking, culture and adaptation.

Continuing with the lighter theme, a piece just before the new year opened with a picture of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Global Chief Information Officer—and his dog. You can imagine where this article: “Logging Off: Overtaxed CIOs Find Balance in Hikes, Pandemic Puppies” was going. It talked about the competing demands from work and full stay-at-home households and how leaders were stepping outside of the tech bubble to relieve their stress. From homemade pasta sauce to bike rides to adopting an Australian shepherd puppy we heard how CIOs are doing their best to help their people and themselves to cope with our changed working patterns. You can find out my favorite way to disengage in the article.

Turning the corner into the new year, WSJ took a look at how technology and processes used during the pandemic were setting the stage for future digital efforts. In “For Many CIOs, 2020’s Digital Acceleration Was Only the Beginning” companies like Kraft Heinz and Jones Lang LaSalle talked about the digital collaboration tools and new technologies that have helped them support virtual operations that are setting the pace of business for the year ahead. I commented that we’re seeing companies push through digital transformation in three months that would have taken three years pre-pandemic. I believe we were able to manage the COVID-19 disruption barely skipping a beat because we had already invested in the digital technologies, infrastructure and collaborative culture that meant we could respond quickly and efficiently to the crisis.

Last but not least, WSJ noted how total shipments of computers in 2020 surged 11% from 2019. That’s 297M units according to a research report. In “CIO Scramble to Equip Remote Workers Sparked Best PC Growth Rate in Decade” I shared the scale of the equipment shift Accenture had to make. I also noted how Microsoft Teams, the online collaboration tool, had seen a dramatic increase in use—more than 90 million minutes of videoconferences each month, compared with 14 million minutes in March 2020.

I hope you take a moment to find out what’s top of mind for CIOs. It’s good to hear what others are doing in these difficult times—and remind ourselves we’ve come a long way in a year—for many, it’s been a move from surviving to transforming. Let’s keep sharing our way forward as those challenges change.

Penelope Prett

Chief Information, Data & Analytics Officer

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