The world has almost come to a standstill amid the COVID 19 pandemic. Rapidly integrating digital technologies is the only way for businesses to remain resilient and navigate the disruptions that CIOs are encountering every day.
CIOs today have their backs against the wall to realign priorities, strategise to maintain business continuity, and rethink their long term-short term strategies. Increased use of virtual communication while being the key to carrying on the operations in such unprecedented times, is adding more responsibilities for IT teams.
Here are some key considerations for CIOs while rethinking their strategies for companies to transition into being entirely digitally enabled during, and even after this phase.
Digital transformation is the key
Most of the global companies, along with their CIOs, have started working on a digital transformation plan or have one already in place to curb the impact of COVID-19 to the minimum. It is the responsibility of CIOs to ascertain if companies can manage the enormous workload while working remotely.
Sectors like banking, education, IT, etc., where they didn’t even consider working from home as an option, are now not only working remotely by teleworking with their teams and clients but also holding virtual events such as webinars to keep their customers and employees engaged.
Going digital would also lower operating expenses and extra workload that comes with traditional methods. Cloud and colocation data centers played a massive role to bring workplace 2.0 into existence. Accessing data, working on a shared document and collaborating with team members has become possible due to cloud technologies. CIOs must ensure that their company understands the importance of digital transformation and that if not restructured into a digital environment, they would be running a high risk of being replaced by the ones who were quick to adopt a digital model.
Security is the need of the hour
Cyberattacks are one of the critical threats that CIOs are facing during this unplanned and sudden shift to the virtual workplace. According to Cloudflare, cyber threats have increased by almost six-times their usual levels over the past few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies should reassess the risk tolerance capabilities of their IT infrastructure. One of the effective ways to tackle the situation is to move towards ‘Zero Trust Approach’. CIOs must focus on cloud infrastructure with identity providers like Azure or Okta to enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) as the central point of authentication. For on-prem infrastructure, VPN and remote access gateway are likely to be the risk areas. CIOs must be ready with a backup plan to patch immediately.
IT investments for a secure future
A survey by IDC has shown that the IT spending growth forecast has slid down to 2.7 per cent from 5.1 per cent within three months. However, cloud and security are the two identified key areas for sustainable crisis response. The pandemic has reinforced the significance of cloud and colocation data centers industrywide. The data center service providers have provided great support while making the shift to online working culture. CIOs are reducing the spend on futuristic technologies and limiting it to what is needed at the moment for business continuity.
Right communication with internal and external stakeholders
It is imperative to take proactive steps and ensure that you have regular communication with your customers so that they are updated on all developments and feel secure. Customers and employees should be apprised of future possibilities but in a way that doesn’t cause panic or distress. CIOs should familiarise the teams with tech tools provided to them for effective communication and optimise productivity. Sharing information from a reliable source continuously will help to put people’s minds at ease and make them more productive.
The current crisis is extremely volatile without a clear end in sight. During this time, CIOs need to look after the digital lifelines of their companies and ensure they are taking the right steps to support their organisations. By being proactive in implementing digital business strategies, CIOs can ensure to maintain business continuity and a faster run to normalcy when things get back on track.