Iyer too is banking on upskilling as he looks to implement SAP HANA by the end of the year. He is planning to upgrade the skillsets of resources within the company instead of hiring expensive ones from outside.

Today, the list of IT and non-IT companies axing redundant roles is growing. In such a situation, employees must keep their skills in check to prove their indispensability within the organization. When it comes to tech and digital expertise, the most impactful means to raise productivity in tandem with the evolving technology is constant upskilling,” says Alug. “In a digital world, the list of certifications for IT courses is endless. However, there is an increased demand for skill building in certain areas such as cloud, data science, DevOps, AI/ML, and cybersecurity to keep up with the advancing technologies.”

Shifting IT strategies to curb costs

In another initiative, the technology leader from the travel industry has “reengineered his enterprise’s operations.”

“The travel industry has lots of legacy applications and APIs. We looked at those applications that were non-revenue generating and shut them down. Overall, 30% of the applications were done away with. With all these initiatives, we are today working at 60% less operating cost,” he says.

The CIO from the BFSI vertical says his enterprise kept costs down by shutting 30% of its regional offices and persisting the company’s work-from-home policy.

Meanwhile, his outsourcing partners have adopted an innovative approach to manage the situation. “Rather than laying off employees, their salaries have been cut and they have been given ESOPs [Employee Stock Ownership Plans]. As the company’s P&L moves, so would their benefits,” he says.

Vendors are also offering innovative schemes to help CIOs manage costs better. Vendors such as Dell and HP have launched an innovative plan. Whenever a new employee joins, we had to give them new laptops. Now these vendors take back old laptops and return them after refurbishing them by replacing their old parts such as keys and screen. This has extended the life of a laptop from 18 to 20 months to 64 to 70 months, helping us save 40% costs on a month-on-month basis,” says the BFSI IT leader.

Few IT leaders anticipated a spike in IT salaries to this extent. Still, as the business and technology environment continues to remain unpredictable, CIOs must learn from what is transpiring with talent costs today to be better prepared to handle such scenarios in the future — especially as the CIO’s strategic becomes increasingly more important.

“They must use their expertise to anticipate future changes and work towards keeping the employees up to speed,” Alug advises. Times are uncertain with the looming fears of recession and the ongoing geopolitical scenarios. In such situations, there’s no specific blueprint for CIOs to follow to predict upcoming changes. That said, their reliance on data and emerging technologies takes the driver’s seat to make calculative steps that can stave off any impending challenges.

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