What CIOs can do to weather COVID-19, both now and later

What CIOs can do to weather COVID-19, both now and later

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to make an impact in the United States and abroad, many organizations are up against tremendous challenges to the continuity of their operations. Many employees are stuck at home, facing great uncertainty about when they’ll return to their offices this year, if they will at all. Meanwhile, businesses are facing dramatic changes in customer demand due to the economic fallout, and they often have a lack of clear data on how they can stabilize things again.

So if you’re a chief information officer at a company that’s weathering this storm, what can you do? How can you lead your business through these vexing times?

According to Gartner, there are a lot of proactive steps that businesses can take, both immediately and farther down the road. In a recent report, entitled “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak: Short- and Long-Term Actions for CIOs,” their analysts laid out the path forward clearly and effectively.

In the short term, the first thing CIOs can do is source digital collaboration tools that their employees can use in the interim. This pandemic struck the business world quickly, and many companies had little time to prop up their daily operations; therefore, the first order of business is to make sure people still have the tools they need to collaborate daily. Basic platforms for email, chat, file sharing, and conferencing are the foundation here. CIOs need to deliver these tools immediately, plus establish a single source of truth on how future collaboration plans will be communicated.

In addition to handling basic daily responsibilities, IT leaders also need to work with other organizational leadership to conduct workforce planning, assess risks, and address staffing gaps. The turbulence caused by this pandemic may lead the business to reassess its overall priorities; if and when this does happen, some personnel shifting may be necessary to fill any new needs. Priorities may shift externally, too, which means another key order of business is to engage customers and partners and maintain these relationships as well as possible.

And then there’s the long term. Once the day-to-day is stabilized, the next step is to ensure your business will be set up for success beyond 2020. According to Gartner’s analysts, the first step is to develop a large-scale digital workplace strategy. Ideally, this would include collaboration applications, security controls, bring your own device (BYOD), and network support. CIOs should set their sights on identifying digital technologies that can empower their employees and automating as many tasks as possible to ensure maximum efficiency.

Moving forward, CIOs should look to adjust their overall business strategies to account for the new, post-COVID economy. This may mean developing new products, expanding to new channels, and adapting new business models that will prepare for growth as well as improve business resilience over the long haul. This adaptation will require a great deal of data-driven insight to execute it correctly, which means it’s also important to improve overall data literacy within the business and perhaps invest in a wider range of analytics tools.

At Zones, we are happy to serve as your trusted business partner as you undertake all of these steps, both now and in the years to come. While this COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone, our Zones team has been as resilient as ever, and we remain focused on delivering the highest-quality IT services for you. Whatever your business needs to get through this – be it Workplace Modernization, Network Optimization, Data Center Transformation, or Security Fortification – we’re here for you.

Want to know more about the COVID-19 continuity planning services we offer? You’re in the right place. Read on.

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