Even before the Coivd-19 pandemic hit, 2020 was predicted to be a year full of change. Trade tariffs, uncertainty around policy, and concerns about economic stability had executives debating whether to invest in growth initiatives or sit tight. With the changes that have taken place over the past two months, the question many C-suites are asking themselves is if now is the time for business transformation?
Forrester published a piece that focused on this question for CIOs for the coming year. In it they stated, “Technology-driven innovation is “an advanced discipline of rapid technology experimentation to unleash disruptive change.” It’s the kind of change needed in today’s volatile market, but it calls for a new breed of customer-obsessed leader with business acumen and technical expertise.” They note that the new breed of CIO should be visionary and independent, holistic and business-aware, bold and confident, and collaborative. Traits that are even more important in today’s business environment.
Many companies that had decided to push forward with their business transformation initiatives may be having second thoughts in light of the economic downturn and uncertainty of when things will get back to “normal.” However, that may not be the best decision according to a recent CIO article. According to Steve Bates, global leader of KPMG’s CIO center of excellence, “You have to avoid the tendency to slash and burn your transformation and revert back to your traditional working model, which is human nature.”
During recent business disruptions such as 9-11 and the 2008 recession, companies that stayed the course on their digital initiatives put heavy pressure on those that contained or reduced costs. This is even more important today, with 80% of revenue growth over the next two years reliant on digital initiatives. Continued digital transformation is important to achieve the growth, but there is a need to consider short-term changes that will still enable you to achieve long-term goals. Per Bates, ““All roads lead back to the IT operating model. There is going to be pent-up demand and when this period ends there is going to be a tidal wave of spending and you want to be in position to take advantage of it.” In short, now is not the time to turn the spigot off to significant tech initiatives.”
Companies that have been dragging their feet on adopting cloud computing are being forced to reconsider. The pandemic may not change the mind of companies that aren’t considering the cloud at all, but for those that had been kicking the can down the road, their timeline is being accelerated. As the article calls out, “The coronavirus crisis is nothing if not a selling point for a so-called “cloud-first” strategy, another linchpin of digital business. Cloud-first companies look to adopt SaaS and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) technologies before considering on-premises solutions.”
An important learning coming out of the pandemic is the need for business resiliency as part of the transformation initiative. Previously it may have been considered a nice to have, but as we are now experiencing, investing the resources to have a plan in place is critical to business operations. Gartner analyst David Gregory, “You have to reduce the likelihood of failure and should you fail, you need IT people thinking more carefully on service delivery.” The article goes on to share the following “punch list” for thriving after the pandemic.
- Scale cloud initiatives and adopt XaaS (everything as a service)
- Increase process automation and machine learning
- Scale DevOps and ITSM (IT service management)
- Improve data analytics capabilities
- Implement self-service to improve customer experience
“This will come to an end and a lot of companies will leave a massive amount of money parked on the sidelines,” Bates says. “Organizations who double down on the most important advancements to allow them to emerge more competitive are going to win.” For help with guidance and hiring your next digital executive, send us a note, and one of our experienced executive recruiters will respond accordingly.