COVID-19 Business Continuity and the Cloud- and what to do next

 

The current situation has stabilised and most of us have settled into a new rhythm of remote working. The primary focus has been on people safety and enabling functionality in the “new world” order, concurrently IT has had to enable users and ensure that business partners and the organisation’s supply chains can continue to be functional and productive.

This has forced cultural change as survival has been and is paramount with a crisis management and business continuity focus. It has been about extreme agility driven by digital transformation.

This situation will change the perception of the use of IT moving forward. The key questions now are: How do we as IT leaders manage and lead during this change and

What are some things we can do now and what should we do next to prepare the organisation for when this is inevitably over?

Some key considerations are:

Elasticity - has been shown to be important. The ability to scale down certain applications now and scale them or others back up later when organisations ramp back up.

This is a perfect use case for the applications that are suited to hybrid or public cloud.

Remote management – is critical when physical access to data centres is limited and there may be staff reductions or illness.  

You may need new partners to deliver cloud enablement and the increased management and security requirements of distributed users and disparate end user devices.

Review your BC and DR plans – While we shouldn’t blame our BC/DR team or consultants as our BC/DR plans didn’t consider pandemics.

No one could have foreseen this change and global shutdown of economies is such a short period of time.

This situation has shown need for geo-redundancy and scalability and the need to be able to switch to new models to be agile.

Embrace infrastructure and security automation – The situation had shown the need for security as well as infrastructure automation, as people may not be physically there or available, that we can’t continue to be reliant on manual work or physical presence.

If you already had automated security and Infrastructure as code, you would be way ahead of your competitors.

What is the past has been consider a luxury has been demonstrated not to be a nice to have but an essential capability.  

So, what conversation can IT leaders have with the CEO and the CFO?

All of this requires strategic investment when most companies now don’t want to and cannot spend. Having these things in place will future proof companies from these situations. IT leaders can show that the costs to run in a legacy mode will be more than the cost of implementing these technologies.

COVID has shown that these things are not a luxury but a necessity. Having a sustainable business and a going concern is a number one priority and doing these things is paramount and will save money from lower operating costs moving forward. These savings aren’t instantaneous, so the discussion needs to be strategic.

Extreme agility shouldn’t just be a crisis mode initiative. Businesses will have to start anew as lean, digital and IT focussed organisations. We are going to have restart our companies and we have an opportunity to rebuild it in a better way. We can plan for how we enter new businesses and build digital supply chains quickly and put the IT people and platforms in place to support it.

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