How COVID-19 Is Changing CIO Priorities

May 08, 2020
 • by 
Tessa Austin

Disruption is not a new concept to most businesses, but COVID-19 is bringing a whole new meaning to the word. Unique demands, sudden changes in vital business processes, etc. have sent even the most resilient companies into disarray. Tech infrastructure and organizational systems have been met with new challenges and are relied upon now more than ever. To adapt to and endure these challenges, CIOs need to step up to the plate and lead the way, shifting their focus and creating COVID-19-proof strategies both short and long-term that will lead to continuity and recovery.

Security First

Throughout the crisis, most companies and their employees are adjusting to remote work. Entire teams are staying home, relying heavily on online systems for communication, collaboration and completion of daily tasks. As more aspects of business and its data need to be handled remotely, the importance of data security is now center stage regardless of industry or company size. Even for businesses with frameworks developed that can accommodate remote work, security through these new communication and operation channels needs to be a priority.

CIOs have had to make  defining decisions regarding data storage and security  For example, the extent that employees may be accessing data through personal devices, what aspects of data storage are in-house or cloud-based, and who has access to various aspects of corporate data and systems are all subject to change right now. Additionally, it is likely that more public, cloud-based services will be implemented to accommodate remote work on a large scale. Though many may consider these decisions to be relatively short-term changes, they have long-term implications on an organization’s data security management that will need to be re-assessed by CIOs more regularly.

Invest in new innovations

Tech is the answer to solving pressing questions regarding digital sales channels, surges of customer inquiries and demands, and internal remote work operations. To create new business processes and modify existing ones according to current, ever-changing demands, CIOs need to seek out technologies that are immediately accessible and can provide sales, marketing, service, and operations with tools to handle common tasks quickly and effectively without increasing their IT headcount. Now more than ever, innovation is necessary for continuity. Rapid changes in how an organization uses tech can help accommodate the rapid changes regarding how an organization works as a whole.

Finding new tech solutions and ensuring that a company’s tech infrastructure can promote rapid innovation requires CIOs to seek out entirely new technologies and re-evaluate existing ones. On a smaller scale, apps that have short-term contracts and speedy implementation can help support changes in key aspects of a business like how employees communicate with customers, partners, or each other. On a much larger scale, however, it’s important to look into investments into innovations like CRM, BPM, and ERP systems using cutting-edge tech like low-code as a possible replacement for outdated legacy systems. Doing so can ensure more agility and flexibility throughout the current crisis by providing the organization with a more adaptable framework for its operations. These investments can also give companies the opportunity to bounce back faster than ever after the pandemic is over as they allow organizations to identify and address bottlenecks faster as well as adapt key processes to changing business landscapes and customer demands. 

Re-think recovery strategies

COVID-19 has put nearly every company’s disaster recovery strategies into question by showing the extent in which business can be shaken in such a short timeframe. The need to transform recovery strategies and potential disaster scenarios is a company-wide challenge, and CIOs are no exception. CIOs need to re-think the tech infrastructure of their company and the role it plays in the company’s flexibility, ability to respond to disaster, and ability to continue/recover from disasters of similar scale.

COVID-19 has taught us to think big when it comes to the potential changes a company may have to go through relatively quickly. In order to create more foolproof strategies, CIOs need to start asking tougher questions and come up with more creative “what-if” scenarios. Many companies made the mistake of thinking too short-term regarding crises and have found their strategies lacking due to this shortsightedness, so it’s vital that CIOs consider large and long-term shifts in how their company operates in order to determine the role that tech will play in addressing these challenges.

Conclusion

The role of the CIO is transforming due to COVID-19. The decisions CIOs make right now are vital to how their company will adapt and adjust throughout this ever-changing business environment. CIOs need to consider the importance of security, innovations, and future recovery strategy within their decision-making process to ensure that their company can accommodate these sudden shifts in both the present and future. Our usage of business tech has gone through dramatic changes in the wake of COVID-19, and it doesn’t look like this will change any time soon. CIOs and their smart thinking are key for companies to adapt and overcome in the short and long-term. Find out more about COVID-19 strategies and key points to consider in our latest eBook “5 Reasons Why Investing In Tech Is The Best Thing You Could Do Right Now.”