A new IDG survey revealed that IT decision-makers who were already engaged in some stages of digital transformation (DX) believe that their investments left them better prepared and able to cope with widespread disruptions of normal business operations. The survey indicates that the crisis exposed some vulnerabilities in digital agility even for companies whose DX efforts are mature. As a result, many organizations have begun to rethink their priorities and plan to increase their digital agility. Another outcome is that IT leaders will likely have a larger say in how to move forward, as a large majority of the respondents indicated that the crisis has elevated the position of IT at the executive decision-making table.
Participants in an IDG TechTalk Twitter chat addressing the survey results indicated they believe that IT leaders need to take advantage of their new-found strategic prominence to continue pushing their organizations further along the digital transformation path.
In particular, IT leaders need to act on the lessons learned from what worked, and didn’t, as organizations vastly increased their reliance on remote work and digital business models. That includes settling on communication and collaboration platforms that are effective for their organizations. It also would be beneficial to figure out what to do about inconsistent internet connectivity and bandwidth that can downgrade workers’ experiences.
A1 Impossible for IT to hide right now, they're more vital than ever. For those whose orgs have invested in business continuity, they are looking good now. Others, shouldn't waste the opportunity, the biz case is now proven. Ask for that funding now! #IDGTECHtalk— Larry Larmeu (@LarryLarmeu) July 16, 2020
A1: The pandemic has made org. act at lightening speed and embrace cultural shift overnight, which means that change can happen in short time if we are agile & proactive enough to drive the change.— Moin Shaikh (@moingshaikh) July 16, 2020
Org. must not get back to previous mindset of being reactive. #IDGTechTalk
With IT leaders getting a seat at the executive management table, now is the time for them to demonstrate how crucially strategic IT is to the future of an increasingly digital business.
a1: They need to focus on innovation that will bring value to the business, address the challenges/changes due to current environment, and execute, avoid knee jerk and tech focus, still key is value to biz #IDGTECHtalk— Ed Featherston #stayathome #wearthedamnmask (@efeatherston) July 16, 2020
A1) IT can increase their strategic influence by using the current situation to build more meaningful and deeper collaboration witht he biz units they support. That starts with talking with each other, not *at* each other. #IDGTECHtalk— Will Kelly (@willkelly) July 16, 2020
Given that many organizations likely rolled out new work from home and other capabilities with haste foremost among considerations, it’s crucial to step back and review what, if any, potential security vulnerabilities may have been created.
A1: We’re only 100 days into #COVID #pandemic, so it’s hard to quantify IT gains fully. With that, #IT & #infosc must keep up w/ cyber hygiene 7/24/265. If not, the increase in standing will eventually be pulled out from them. https://t.co/cwZrEU9Nfr #IDGTECHtalk— Ben Rothke (@benrothke) July 16, 2020
A lot of the organizations I have been providing advice to over the last few months are both themselves and their customers working through the "clawback" process from #COVID #remotework. #idgtechtalk @comcastbusiness— Wayne Anderson (@DigitalSecArch) July 16, 2020
Driven by a combination of government mandate and concerns over worker and customer safety, many organizations pivoted rapidly to remote work wherever possible. For some, it was an extension of a growing trend to a more distributed workforce; for others, it may have represented an abrupt shift in corporate culture and work processes. Regardless of how they got there, the experience undoubtedly opened many eyes to greater potential.
A2:— Moin Shaikh (@moingshaikh) July 16, 2020
Cloud, Collaboration, and Communication technologies and tools have been vital to our business continuity.
With teams and clients spread across diff. time zones, these tools have allowed us to operate in sync. with each other even during the peak.#IDGTECHtalk
a2: (side thought) imagine if this had happened 10 years ago, without the tools we have today #IDGTECHtalk— Ed Featherston #stayathome #wearthedamnmask (@efeatherston) July 16, 2020
We are learning a lot about remote work right now, we need to make sure that learning does not go to waste once we return to something that resembles normal. #idgtechtalk— Larry Larmeu (@LarryLarmeu) July 16, 2020
Especially in the early days of this crisis, some efforts to utilize communication and collaboration platforms for remote work could be as frustrating as a conversation with Lily Tomlin’s telephone operator character, Ernestine. Many workers were unfamiliar with new tools. Some legacy platforms are showing signs of stagnation. And even when everything worked smoothly for an organization, partners and customers were often using different platforms that could create jarring experiences on both sides.
Spending so much time now on video conferences, mostly on newer platforms that are easy to use and functional, it's tough when I have to join a meeting on one of the legacy platforms not to be named. #idgtechtalk pic.twitter.com/IHGu45koTU— Larry Larmeu (@LarryLarmeu) July 16, 2020
Agreed! Someone sent a’ ‘old school’ meeting invite with just a dial-in a few weeks ago and I didn’t know what to do with myself! 🤣 #idgtechtalk— Clare Brown (@ClareBrownIDG) July 16, 2020
So true, we just switched over to a different one for this reason, can’t have a meeting if we cannot see or hear one another #IDGTECHTalk— Debra Ruh (@debraruh) July 16, 2020
Undoubtedly there are many lessons learned from the current crisis, and it’s imperative that IT learn from the hits and misses to ensure the digital organization gains greater agility moving forward.
ensure that systems that support remote work are linked.— Jack l Unibright.io | (@Sjaaaakster) July 16, 2020
Listen to employees and go for small successes (and celebrate them too)#idgtechtalk
A2: Reassessment of business processes that are useful vs. wasteful and then seeing which technologies are supporting or creating hinderances. Usually specific tech really isn’t that much of a factor unless we make it so. #idgtechtalk #DigitalTransformation— Arsalan Khan 🇺🇸🇵🇰🇨🇴🇨🇦 (@ArsalanAKhan) July 16, 2020
Continuing transformation efforts come with a price, and as the current crisis recedes it may be tempting for senior executives to downplay the need for continuing investment to ensure business agility. IT must tally up its successes and the potential costs of failing to act.
A3: the post-pandemic world holds big opportunities to redefine business value and build more resilient ecosystems. That said, good intentions are not enough and initiatives must be outcome-driven #idgtechtalk— Toby Buechsenschuetz (@TobBuc) July 16, 2020
Good point. There are lots of #IT opportunities. But building more resilient IT ecosystems in large, complex environments is not a trivial endeavor. Too many CIO/CEO/CTO believe the hype that an appliance can do that. #idgtechtalk— Ben Rothke (@benrothke) July 16, 2020
Yes, show IT the demonstrable value of the investment short term. Long term also helpful but "why do I need to make this purchase now? What problem are you solving for me? That's the proper mindset imho #IDGTECHtalk— Adam Stein (adam-at-apsmarketing-dot-net) (@apstein2) July 16, 2020
A3: For IT leaders, get business leaders involved. Show how IT can help to reduce cost and/or increase speed of operations. Don’t get sucked into how many FTEs they can get rid of. Instead focus on retraining due to automation. #idgtechtalk #DigitalTransformation— Arsalan Khan 🇺🇸🇵🇰🇨🇴🇨🇦 (@ArsalanAKhan) July 16, 2020
A3) #IDGtechTalk DONOT make it about the technology, make it about experiences and driving value, value could be monetary and it could be something like improving the environment #DigitalTransformation RT— Tony Flath - Wave of Change Crusader (@TmanSpeaks) July 16, 2020
Yeh, i have clients right now in 3 buckets— Ed Featherston #stayathome #wearthedamnmask (@efeatherston) July 16, 2020
1) hunker down
2) accelerate existing innovation efforts
3) quick throw everything in the cloud it will save us
#3 definitely in shiny toy mode #IDGTECHtalk
Data strategy should be at the forefront of digital transformation investment and it is up to IT to make the case that this is essential to digital agility, worker/customer experience, and competitive advantage. But simply accumulating all available data is not a strategic approach.
A5: Data strategy has always been important. Now more than ever. The critical point is to connect your data strategy to the analytics strategy. From an #infosec perspective, identify the data the business owns and consider a data governance strategy. #IDGTECHtalk— Ben Rothke (@benrothke) July 16, 2020
A5: Not all data is created equal. Not all organizations that use data are created equal either. Data to improve customer and employee experiences is useful. Data for the purpose of collection but no usage is a burden. #idgtechtalk #DigitalTransformation— Arsalan Khan 🇺🇸🇵🇰🇨🇴🇨🇦 (@ArsalanAKhan) July 16, 2020
Unused/unneeded data is a liability! You hold the data? You're responsible for it. #idgtechtalk— Larry Larmeu (@LarryLarmeu) July 16, 2020
Agreed, large data lakes without analysis is just bits taking up space and storage costs #IDGTECHtalk— Ed Featherston #stayathome #wearthedamnmask (@efeatherston) July 16, 2020
A5 One of the advantages of digital business is the data that can be used to glean insights into customer needs and behaviors. We've got to make sure we are doing this legally and ethically. The line is still blurry but becoming a bit clearer as time goes on. #IDGTECHtalk— Larry Larmeu (@LarryLarmeu) July 16, 2020
It’s all well and fine to put the latest collaboration and communications tools in the hands of remote workers, but if they don’t have a decent Internet connection they won’t be able to optimize use of those tools. If connectivity is inconsistent, teams will not be able to mesh most effectively, and user frustration can grow and sap not only productivity but also morale.
Without "internet dial tone" all remote work grounds to a halt. Biggest fixable problem I've seen is adjusting DNS settings on home gateways. Many providers have awful DNS config. Easy for user to update/redirect: https://t.co/aIvkH2kD9V #IDGTECHtalk— Adam Stein (adam-at-apsmarketing-dot-net) (@apstein2) July 16, 2020
Organizations that want to foster the most productive work from home environments may find they need to invest in more robust connectivity for their employees.
💡 Maybe orgs should completely subsidize the highest internet access for their employees. #idgtechtalk— Arsalan Khan 🇺🇸🇵🇰🇨🇴🇨🇦 (@ArsalanAKhan) July 16, 2020
As they extend and formalize broader work from home initiatives, organizations need to make sure they’re meeting the needs of workers and not expecting them to independently make up for shortcomings in a company’s strategy and IT assets.
Needs to go viral.— Moin Shaikh (@moingshaikh) July 16, 2020
A friend of mine recently had experience internet outage at home, and his manager asked him to use his personal cellular data and refused to show any acknowledgement or appreciation, saying that it was the employee's personal issue.#IDGTECHtalk
This is huge. It shows the relationship/gulf between work, tech and leadership. So long as these types of things keep happening, tech continues to face an uphill battle. #IDGTECHtalk— Steven M. Prentice (@StevenPrentice) July 16, 2020