COVID-19 has disrupted operations and will have prolonged impacts on continuity of operations, modes of working and growth patterns. CIOs need to respond to the crisis with both short- and long-term actions to increase resilience against future disruptions and prepare for rebound and growth.

Impacts

  • Organisations face challenges to the continuity of operations as employees are stranded in various locations with uncertain return dates.
  • Dramatic changes in customer demand are putting organisations under huge stress: Sharp declines in demand present serious financial challenges to many businesses, while those facing demand surges and resource shortage risk disappointing and disengaging customers.
  • Confusing data from unverified sources, or sheer lack of data, leads to ill-informed decisions, escalating employee anxiety and making organisations underprepared for returning to normal operations and future growth.

Recommendations – CIOs leading innovation, disruptive trends and emerging practices should take the following actions:

  • Short-term actions:
    – Source interim digital collaboration tools to enable employees to work remotely, ensuring security controls and network support are in place.
    – Work with business leaders to conduct workforce planning to assess risk and address staffing gaps. Reprioritise demand and balance staff by shifting personnel from areas of lower priority.
    – Engage customers and partners via digital channels to maintain relations. Repackage product offerings and sell through digital channels.
    – Establish a single source of truth and communicate that to employees.
  • Long-term actions:
    – Develop a digital workplace strategy that includes collaboration applications, security controls, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs and network support.
    – Identify alternative employment modes and digital technologies that can empower employees and automate tasks.
    – Develop digital product extensions, expanding to new channels and enabling new business models to increase business resilience and prepare for growth.
    – Contribute to data-for-good programs to improve data literacy and increase adoption of a wider range of data and analytics tools.
*This article is reprinted from the Gartner Blog Network with permission. 
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