Q&A: What CDW UK has planned for 2022

J.D. Hupp, managing director at CDW UK and international, discusses the plans that the technology services and solutions provider has in store for the UK region in 2022

What plans does CDW have in store for UK operations over the course of 2022?

At CDW, we see it as our purpose to make technology work so people can do great things, and we’re on a mission to do more of that in 2022. We’re highly focused on becoming the leading integrated technology and services-led business so we can meet the full range of our customers’ needs, provide more strategic, long-term solutions and deliver a best-in-class experience.

We’re investing where we see customer demand. We’re doubling down on security to help protect our customers’ operations and data. In addition, we’re prioritising digital enablement so that our customers are able to break down data silos across products, people and operations. This is particularly important, as it enables organisational efficiency and consistency while saving time, money and resources.

Another key focus area for us this year is providing hybrid platforms that increase resilience, availability and responsiveness for our customers. As we move more permanently into this hybrid working world, we want to help our customers create modern workspaces that foster greater collaboration.

Are there any goals, on an individual level as a tech leader, that you have set for 2022?

With software and technology becoming mission-critical for businesses as we grapple with hybrid ways of working, talent plays a crucial role in how we set ourselves apart as a business. As such, a key focus area of mine is on recruiting, retaining and developing our people at all levels, and in all areas of the business. This year, we’re also launching some exciting new training and development programmes like CDW UK’s Sales Academy designed to prepare and train new sellers. We just brought on our first cohort and couldn’t be more optimistic about the great things this talented group of new sellers will accomplish.

However, we aspire to much more than just training and recruitment. Our people want to work for a company with purpose, which is why I’m passionate about DE&I and collaboration. We have many programmes and projects underway this year to foster an even more diverse, inclusive and collaborative environment for our people. This includes a podcast series that’s focused on sharing coworkers’ lived experiences, as well as our ‘Time to Talk’ workgroup and events programme that shines a light on important topics surrounding mental health. These initiatives help us open the lines of communication and give our employees a voice on the topics that matter to them. This in turn helps us to review and evaluate our policies and processes to ensure they reflect what our coworkers really want and need. For example, through our ‘Time to Talk’ sessions, we recognised the need to expand on the wellbeing support of coworkers to include mental health and menopause support.

I’m equally as passionate about developing our leaders. I firmly believe that leaders can make (or break) a coworker’s experience and be the difference between reaching or falling short of our targets. That is why we have launched our Emerging Leaders Programme, which aims to identify future leaders and nurture talent to inspire and progress our existing workforce. We’ve also set up a Global Career Framework which supports the development of all coworkers regardless of the stage they are at in their careers or how long they have been with CDW.

What particular tech trends are you keeping an eye on this year, that CDW UK either are, or want to get involved with?

We want to help our customers do more with their data. Big data and artificial intelligence (AI) are two technologies that we’re constantly looking to evolve and incorporate. Together, big data and AI have a synergistic relationship. AI requires a massive scale of data to learn and improve decision-making processes and big data analytics leverages AI for better data analysis. With this convergence, you can more easily leverage advanced analytics capabilities like augmented or predictive analytics and more efficiently surface actionable insights from vast stores of data. As such, it creates high-value insights from data and improves data literacy across an organisation.

Innovating for sustainability will continue to be a key focus for us and our customers, and we are committed to finding new ways to help them on their journeys to net zero in any way we can. Not only does focusing on sustainability ensure business continuity by conserving resources but customers and employees want to buy from and work for companies that share their values.

We believe sustainability is a shared responsibility and we want to set a strong example. Through our beGreen program, we provide coworkers with the platform to share ideas and take collective action to improve our environment. Areas of focus include coworker education, community awareness, recycling and resource conservation. The program is managed by a cross-functional team of coworkers from multiple CDW locations. This team collaborates internally and with members of the communities where we operate.

Sustainability can no longer be a secondary consideration, which is why we’re also in the process of developing a global plan to make realistic, attainable and strong commitments to being a more sustainable organisation ourselves, while working with our partners and customers to do the same.

What would you say are the biggest challenges that your customers have in front of them in 2022, that CDW is looking to help mitigate?

Hybrid working and the digitisation of business is one of the main challenges that’s impacting our customers right now. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, many organisations pivoted quickly to accommodate a sudden increase in remote work. While that move may have seemed temporary at first, it’s become clear that remote work won’t be going away anytime soon.

According to our recent research, six in ten IT leaders say that working remotely has made their organisation more vulnerable to cyber attacks, with many also concerned that system performance issues and a lack of knowledge or experience may stand in the way of their ability to implement their organisation’s future of work strategy. As such, our customers are looking to have access to the services, solutions and support they need to put in place agile technologies that can adapt quickly and securely in this new hybrid world.

As I mentioned earlier, the topic of sustainability is also a big challenge that all of our customers are focussed on. We’re always looking to help our customers meet their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals whether that’s by helping them responsibly manage end-of-life-equipment, identifying ways to help them get the most from their IT investment or finding partners that are committed to making a sustainable impact. It’s something all organisations – inside and outside of the tech sector – are prioritising, and rightfully so. In order to be well positioned to advice our customers, we constantly look at ways to better ourselves and find sustainable ways to manage our own IT and enterprise roll out.

This article was written as part of a paid content campaign with CDW.

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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.