6 things for IT leaders to do in the next 6 weeks of lockdown
With Victoria going back into lockdown for a 6-week period and it also looks inevitable that NSW will follow. This presents a fantastic opportunity for IT Leaders to be strategic and utilise this time productively to enable their organisations to both survive the challenges presented by COVID-19 and then capitalise on the uptick when things return to a new normal.
Technology and digital transformation will be central to this. The alternative is to be re-active and driven by the external environment which may have a massive impact on the ability for their companies to bounce back and thrive moving forward.
This article will provide some ideas for what CIO’s, IT Managers and IT leaders in general can do during this period.
#1 Spend time with business leadership in order to understand the business impact and strategy moving forward due to COVID-19
It is critical that IT has a seat at the table for these discussions and has in depth comprehension of the impact of COVID-19 to the business, the change to business strategy and how IT can help enable this. It could be that the company will enter new markets, new locations and industries, all of which will rely on IT to deliver. It is imperative that IT is not perceived as the bottleneck. This may also require additional investment by the business in new systems and additional people to deliver this. If IT is not part of these discussions, we could be asked to deliver these outcomes with what we have which may be impossible.
#2 Roadmap the top 3-5 initiatives that can enable these priorities
Once we have this guidance, we can then create a roadmap of the top 3-5 initiatives which will enable the business to transform and deliver on the updated strategy. As they say” hope is not a strategy” and any plan is better than no plan. It is important that the IT plan aligns with the business strategy or it is unlikely to either be helpful or approved of by the business. Once we have this plan it should be socialised with business leadership and amended and approved before we take action.
#3 Plan for hybrid office with mix of work from home and office for the foreseeable future
The cat is well out of the bag with working from home. COVID-19 has shown that we can all productively work from home (unless we’re manual laborer’s) and it seems unlikely that things will ever go back to the way they were in terms of having everyone in the office. This will have both a cultural and technological impact. Nearly all organisations has broadly adopted Zoom or Microsoft Teams as their collaboration platforms as well as VPN access into their IT systems. The next challenge is how to safely enable a return to the office. Vendors like HPE have come to market with a return to the office solution including; temperature scanners, heat/temperature sensing cameras and AI driven tools that can track and manage social distancing, office layouts and worker density. These solutions will need to be evaluated given the governments requirements for COVID safe workplaces.
#4 Review your cyber-security strategy in new context of remote working
It has been well documented that Australian Government and Corporate entities have been under attack from foreign agencies and that the Identity has become the new threat vector. A great place to start is the “Essential 8” from the Australian Signals Directorate. See link below.
The legacy model of we have of a; VPN, a firewall, endpoint protection and MFA are not sufficient as users are no longer within the office walls, so there is a wide range of new threats that must be addressed. “Bad Actors” are using bots and Machine Learning to attack organisations, so organisations need AI/ML based solutions to combat this as humans cannot keep up.
The identity and data security are a whole new area and solutions that protect data internal and external to your organisation, control and monitor cloud application usage security are paramount.
Checkout this link for more information.
#5 Be prepared to do more with less
Unless your organisation is in one of the industries that is benefiting additional investment from COVID-19 like; Groceries, Logistics and Health it is likely that your IT budgets have been reduced. This is a good opportunity to remove any “dead wood” and review your licensing costs for surplus, telecommunications contracts and optimise and reduce your public cloud spending. See these articles for more information on reducing Public Cloud spend and IT department costs:
#6 Find ways to automate, improve productivity and efficiency in a remote working context
It is essential that IT Leaders are progressive in their adoption of Platforms that enable rapid innovation and automation in a way that will enable their organisations to digitise, remodel and enter new markets. Digital Transformation is now a platform play and Low Code /No Code platforms like Microsoft Power Apps and Outsystems deliver solutions that allow companies to; Automate legacy processes, quickly and easily build applications that integrate with existing platforms and data resulting in Mobile enabled and web based access that will be essential when working remotely. In addition, the ability to harvest and get actionable and timely data will be a key factor in success or failure moving forward.
Checkout the link below for an article on the business benefits of the Power Platform.
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