When 2020 began, CIOs across the world were focusing on their digital transformation initiatives: modernizing legacy systems, implementing modern technologies, making sense of business data, and more.
But the COVID-19 outbreak has brought everything to a stand still. Today, CIOs are struggling to enable work-from-home programs for employees due to which digital transformation has taken a complete backseat. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Although it might seem like the COVID-19 pandemic has closed many doors, it has also opened many – especially for those companies who’ve been late to the digital transformation game.
The challenges COVID-19 has brought to the fore
The corona virus outbreak has changed everything. Although the risk to human life is the greatest fear, the bearing COVID-19 has had on the business world cannot be overlooked.
Stock markets have crashed, airlines are experiencing irreparable losses and several small and medium businesses are shutting shops because they do not have what it takes to survive in this uncertain world.
Surviving in these challenging times is not easy, mainly because of the challenges COVID-19 has brought to the fore:
- With no digital strategy in place and no tools or infrastructure to get employees to work from their homes, businesses are struggling to survive.
- Enabling effective real-time communication and collaboration across different locations, time zone sand languages has become a pressing issue.
- Ensuring employee productivity, enabling teamwork across the geographically dispersed workforce, and driving innovation seems like a distant dream.
- Overcoming intermittent or poor home network connections means enterprises need to devise solutions that work in offline and low-bandwidth situations.
The opportunities it offers
Despite all the furor COVID-19 has caused to personal, professional, and community life, it also opened up a world of opportunities for businesses. Since technology, when used correctly, enhances productivity and efficiency, the outbreak provides the right chance for businesses to work on their digital transformation journey.
Prioritize tech investments
With COVID-19 showing no signs of a slowdown, it’s the right time for businesses to prioritize their digital transformation investments. Instead of putting money in modern office spaces or in acquiring companies or in advertising, companies should channel tech investment to sustain and drive growth. This includes investing in new digitized systems and products and new distribution channels to drive competitive advantage.
Find ways to improve collaboration
As employees across the globe are being asked to work from home for their safety (as well as the safety of others), implementing systems that enable real-time communication is the need of the hour. Systems that have video conferencing, file sharing and chat capabilities are the only systems to implement now, so more and more people can seamlessly communicate with each other and carry out daily tasks with ease and efficiency. Purchasing systems that deal with poor network connectivity is also important to overcome connectivity issues that employees might face with their home networks.
Focus on securing endpoints
Although businesses across the world realize the importance of building threat-resistant networks and endpoints, COVID-19 has completely changed the security landscape. With more and more employee using their personal mobile phones, laptops, and home networks to perform daily tasks, enterprise security has gone for a toss. In these trying times, it is essential organizations adopt security tools that monitor applications for remote access. Enabling single sign-on mechanisms or multi-factor authentication is a good way to eliminate unauthorized access and ensure the safety and security of data.
Build a business continuity plan
Survival has never been more important. With COVID-19 making it very difficult for businesses to maintain status-quo, the focus should be on adjusting (or building foolproof) business continuity plans, so they can emerge as winners when all this is over. Enterprises must drive efforts towards projects and initiatives that are essential to keeping the business running. They must also ensure the plan overcomes day-to-day risks across infrastructure, cyber, employee, business, operational, and communication.
Ensure scalability of systems
In these uncertain times, it is also important for organizations to focus on building platforms that offer functionality at scale. Since there is no certainty of when the world will spring back to action, companies need to have a plan in place to build out platforms over time and to rethink the scope of projects already underway. Deploying systems that are highly flexible and scalable and extending the functionality of existing systems is advisable.
Don’t cut back on IT spending; instead channel it to boost business resiliency
Despite how unsure organizations might be about the current crisis, the truth is, it will eventually pass, and the journey to a digital world will continue. Therefore, don’t cut back on IT spending. Instead, prioritize your investments, so you can focus on strategies and processes that work not just during the pandemic, but also long after it.
Remember, the success of your organization will depend on how you leverage technology, so your employees can safely and efficiently work from home, collaborate with peers and be just as productive from their homes as they were from office.
After successful 5 years stint in a corporate role, Nitin is back to what he enjoys most – conceptualizing new software solutions to solve business problems. Nitin is postgraduate from IIT, Mumbai, India and in his 19 years of career, has played key roles in building a desktop as well as enterprise solutions right from idealization to launch which are adopted by many Fortune 500 companies. As a Founder member of Pratiti Technologies, he is committed to applying his management learning as well as the passion for building new solutions to realize your innovation with certainty.