What next for IT? Five strategic lessons for the post-Covid reality
As businesses contend with this landscape, they face a minefield when it comes to balancing agility with governance - retrospectively and in the future.
Concluding our series of articles on the post-Covid reality, we explore five common themes that should be considered across the end user and broader IT strategy, with lessons that can be applied by IT and business leaders now to tackle challenges and embrace opportunities in the future.
The global pandemic has hit the business world in a way not previously seen in our lifetimes. During the first half of 2020, organisations have been in an unnerving position as they struggle to keep things moving, while safeguarding workforces, supply chains and customers against a real and immediate threat.
As we enter Q3 2020, the outlook is shifting. The remote working revolution has enabled many companies to survive the storm, with IT at the front end of the emergency response. Now, businesses are starting to look forward, using lessons learned from the unimaginable to reimagine what the future of work might look like.
Underpinning the collective effort has been an almost universal adoption of evolving technology, giving us the tools we need to stay collaborative and productive. Our workforces have played their part, too; applying ingenuity to solve home working challenges and collaborate meaningfully in a virtual, yet personal, world. In being apart, we have come together. The results have often been inspiring.
At the core of the response, IT’s role in facilitating the quantum shift from office to home has driven productivity. “Just get us up and running,” the mandate stated. By and large, IT has done just that. There have been challenges and tough decisions. There will be more ahead. Now is IT’s chance to build on both successes and mistakes during the pandemic, moving forward as a primary influencer of the company’s strategy. These key lessons will help you along the way…
1: Look back to move forwards
As explored in our previous article, the necessity of rolling out virtual working at pace has caused traditional controls to be reined back. Emerging from lockdown, end users may be left with unhardened devices, unsecured technology, or expensive, inappropriately deployed toolkits. Plus, there’s likely to be a hefty bill on the horizon as we shore up the real cost of Covid. Now is the time to mitigate that by auditing, optimising, and governing the end user resourcing strategy, to ensure efficiency, security and continuity moving ahead.
2: Integrate enterprise architecture into business planning
Covid has re-focused our attention on just how vital technology strategy is for the business. As a result, IT has the chance to rebrand the role of enterprise architecture, aligning it with every touch point of the business. Make no mistake, if this was not on the core agenda before, the executive door is now open. IT should walk through it with conviction, working to eliminate silos and ensure meaningful collaboration between IT and business leaders to shape the organisation’s digital future.
3: From recovery to resilience
The mass move from on-premise servers to remote data centres has got us to a place where 99.99% uptime is the norm, all but eliminating a major threat to continuity. As a result, digital disaster recovery has moved to the back burner. Covid has returned the issue to the limelight, but the crisis planning focus needs to shift. An emerging theme for boards is not what they do know, but the vast amount that they cannot know, about what the future holds (McKinsey). We must move forward to a new position, where global operational resilience – not site-based incident management – is the driver. That requires a joined-up strategy, with IT and business leadership working together to address strategic issues, securing and shaping digital resilience to withstand future volatility.
4: The human factor
The pandemic has reminded businesses that, even in a virtual world, people are their most powerful asset. So, the future of the workplace is likely to focus attention on wellbeing, collaboration, and community (Enterprise Times). IT can play its part by staying at the sharp end of new technologies. Advances in devices, collaborations and connectivity can all play a huge role in a company’s ability to support, inspire and bring people together – even when separated. IT’s job is to maximise the opportunities, engaging leaders with the importance of new technology strategies for innovation, agility, and growth.
5: IT must cement its place at the table
In the past, IT has had to argue its case, wait its turn, and operate within the multiple constrictions of other executive priorities. Now, IT is the priority. The Covid crisis has opened our minds about technology, (Forbes), paving the way for IT to lead on new , intelligent strategies that serve end users, customers and the business alike. And the C-suite is likely to be receptive – keen to explore how Enterprise Architecture, IT and Digital teams can promote opportunities to regain the competitive edge. In a post-Covid world, IT is poised to move from a position of implementor to innovator and become the rising star of the company’s future growth.
Looking for more Insights?
Revisit our Post-Covid Reality Series, starting with IT’s role in driving distributed working.
Explore how Enterprise Architecture can drive the business roadmap.
Author: Jagjeet Pandha