16 New (And Ongoing) Priorities For Today’s Tech Leaders

Anyone with an eye on the business world knows that tech professionals across industries saw their roles and responsibilities take a huge leap forward with the onset of widespread remote and hybrid work in the wake of the Covid pandemic. Even before that, tech leaders and their teams—both those working for tech-focused companies and those in other industries—had already been having an increasingly large impact on the ways their companies operated.

And while changing workplaces and markets are adding new challenges, there are also “evergreen,” ongoing issues that tech leaders will likely always need to wrestle with, even as they help fellow leaders learn to lean on the unique perspective a tech expert can bring to overall business strategy. Below, 16 members of Forbes Technology Council share the new (and ever-present) priorities they’re dealing with and why they’re so important.

1. Being Heard In Strategy Discussions

Technology is an enabler. Technology teams embody the corporate culture that executes business strategy. The biggest challenges facing a technology leader are either not being part of the strategy discussions early enough or not having the talent, clarity or investment to operationally deliver on the strategy. - Cleve Gibbon, Wunderman Thompson


2. Assessing And Mitigating Risk

I think the primary challenge for tech leaders is uncertainty, highlighted by Covid’s health and business impacts, recent geopolitical events, inflation and recession. We can’t be 100% ready for all of it. But as a tech leader, one can assess and mitigate risks, expand the hiring geography, postpone big expenses for later, and more. This is our new reality—the unexpected can happen tomorrow. We need to learn to deal with it on the fly. - Nadya Knysh, a1qa


Tech leaders struggle to balance foundational IT needs with the imperative to create a competitive advantage. Developing transformative products to dominate an industry or create new markets requires unique skills, an outcome-driven approach and a collaborative culture. The first step is to understand that change is needed, from how a product is conceptualized and planned to how it’s organized and operated. - Chris Garrick, Dialexa


4. Building Self-Sustaining Solutions

When developing a solution, it’s important that the long-term maintenance of the system being created does not fall back onto your IT team. If solutions are built properly, super users can use declarative means to add to or change parts of the system from day to day. Taking the time to build with sustainability in mind frees your technical staff to do what they do best: innovate. - Alex Waddell, Adobe Care and Wellness


5. Navigating A Downward-Trending Market

A current challenge is adjusting to the consequences of a downward market: dwindling valuations, investor anxieties and tightening customer budgets. As a founder who endured the 2008 subprime crash, moments of crisis present opportunities for organizations that respond with discipline and focus. Run a tight ship and deliver value to clients; this period of stasis will pass, and your organization will be stronger for it. - Sheldon Fernandez, DarwinAI


6. Finding And Retaining Talent

It’s all about talent, talent, talent. Tech teams across the world today struggle to maintain a sufficient depth of talent to strategize, architect and build the solutions required to make their businesses successful. Organizations struggle on both the “build” side—“How do I grow my existing talent, and how do I retain the talent I have?”— and on the “buy” side—”From where and how should I source the talent I need?” - Habeeb Mahaboob, TechMahindra (BE)


7. Bridging Business And Tech Teams

A clear challenge is bridging business and tech teams. The former might not know why a product moves so slowly and what the tech difficulties are, while the latter may not be sure why it’s being built at all or what the product will look like in the end. A solution is to hire “hybrid” people—those with a business background and an interest in tech or those who have received a tech education and training but then grow their career in the business world. - Aleks Farseev,


8. Navigating Market Fluctuations

Market fluctuations are the biggest challenge. In times of prosperity, companies often focus on spending money to raise money. During economic downturns, they don’t have that option. Companies must instead build the lobby before building the tower—in other words, it’s important to spend time getting the right infrastructure in place. The best companies are built during challenging times. - Ben Volkow, Otonomo


9. Maintaining Well-Rounded Product And Engineering Teams

Attracting and retaining the best product and engineering talent is still the biggest challenge for any tech company pursuing a differentiated product strategy. This may sound counterintuitive with so many tech companies announcing layoffs, but it’s true. We’re aggressively hiring in our product and engineering teams to find the talent we need, with the right skill sets in the right time zones for us and with the values that are important for a good cultural fit. - Bernadette Nixon, Algolia


10. Delivering Cross-Partner Customer Service

Today, it’s increasingly common for multiple entities to work together to provide micro services that enhance the customer experience. But when things go wrong, the customer is often left confused about who’s responsible for the problem and who can solve it. Clear protocols and greater transparency and communication between the partners, and to the customer, are needed to tackle this issue. - Sandeep MalhotraMastercard


11. Replacing Retiring Tech Talent

At times, we don’t realize that the federal government’s technology departments are a big part of our country’s tech talent landscape. A big challenge in that area is replacing the people who are retiring and who know the legacy technology—there’s not enough talent to replace them. On top of that, the government is not modernizing fast enough to make use of the available talent pool. This is a gap that surely needs to be addressed. - Komal Goyal, 6e Technologies


12. Adapting Security Solutions To Changing Networks

Adversaries are finding new routes to success because the nature of networking has changed and defensive architectures aren’t up to the task of protecting networks any longer. Security teams must adapt to changing networks with solutions that offer visibility and control across all of their platforms, systems and infrastructure—across hybrid, multicloud and truly atomized networks. - Martin Roesch, Netography


13. Enabling Growth While Addressing Inefficiency

Enabling the next generation of growth in today’s new economy while tackling inefficiencies is one of the biggest challenges tech leaders face today. It requires a completely new way of thinking and a modern approach to infrastructure and IT. By modernizing applications and investing in technologies that can deliver valuable data insights, tech leaders can fuel transformation, drive business agility and, ultimately, deliver a competitive edge. - Matt Burr, Pure Storage


14. Supporting Tech Team Members’ Well-Being

Our digital economy and workforces have grown increasingly dependent on tech teams, leading to overutilization, stress and burnout. To build sustainable levels of productivity, managers need to truly understand the well-being of employees through having regular conversations, finding coaching opportunities to balance workloads and reduce unnecessary meetings, and encouraging focus time and breaks. - Rita Selvaggi, ActivTrak


15. Meeting Staffing Needs With Reduced Budgets

The global rise in inflation has impacted overall confidence in markets, and investors are cautious about investing in other companies—especially startups. Reduced overall funding for IT coupled with high skilled IT labor costs is a big challenge for tech teams. It’s becoming difficult to hold or grow talented teams with a limited budget while still delivering ongoing value to customers. Improved ownership, job flexibility and timely appreciation will help retain good talent. - Ashish Fernando, iSchoolConnect


16. Dealing With Supply Chain Disruptions

We all rely on other businesses to deliver our own products or services, even if it is a small piece of software—our supply chain comprises those businesses, and we need to protect it from any vulnerability. Their vulnerability is your vulnerability. Take control and ensure clear visibility and monitoring, building in assurances and never standing still. It is a shared issue and an important one. - Pete Hanlon, Moneypenny