Crises often prompt cut backs and freezes as uncertainty reigns. Despite the economic and business climate continuing to change fast, despite budgets being strained, business and IT leaders simply can’t afford to wait to decide what comes next.
Transformation must accelerate to adapt to the new realities of operating in a pandemic, while still making the most of new growth opportunities. After quickly adapting amid pandemic lockdowns, the next phase is arguably a greater challenge and the true test of the CIO’s mettle, as they plot a path towards longer term recovery.
The digital dividend
After all, it’s never been more clear that digital transformation is what will set companies and organisations apart in the coming months and years. Those businesses who were well underway with their digital transformations prior to COVID-19 and associated lockdowns have reaped the rewards during the pandemic.
As just one example, footwear chain Accent Group saw online sales surge 150 per cent during the pandemic, driving stronger earnings which are now tipped to be up 10 per cent this year. The group behind names such as Platypus, Hype and The Athlete’s Foot was one of the first national chains to close all its stores in March but had invested heavily in its brands’ digital capabilities prior to the crisis.
For those businesses who had not made such strategic upfront investments or did not move quite so fast when the pandemic struck, it is still possible to build a firm foundation for the next phase – by adapting securely, with agility and efficiency to the new business-as-usual.
Front of mind are optimising and securing IT environments and workplaces to ensure that the gaps in customer and employee experience are addressed and spend is optimised. Yet it’s clear that IT leaders are under significant pressure as they try to determine a path forward. In fact, 61 per cent say they feel more pressure at work than ever before.
RE:IMAGINE provides a holistic view
While there’s an enormous amount of information out there about different solutions, Harbour IT, partner of Canon Business Services, saw a need to support CIOs with a more holistic view. Along with our partners – industry leading tech vendors including Microsoft, Cisco, Pure Storage, Converga, Palo Alto and NetApp – we have developed RE:IMAGINE, a content series designed to help IT leaders define and execute strategies to navigate the way ahead.
Informed by our deep, joint expertise in delivering effective technology solutions to enterprises across Australia, RE:IMAGINE delves into how IT leaders can overcome common pain points as they helm change during the pandemic and beyond.
Shaped by research undertaken by ADAPT involving more than 200 IT Australian IT leaders, the series will include a variety of insightful yet practical events. These include customer immersion sessions featuring customers across banking, healthcare, manufacturing and more who’ve undertaken successful digital transformation. Tech vendors will discuss the latest research on challenges and priorities facing IT during this business recovery phase, and participants can sign up for one-on-one IT-led workshops to share their business challenges and get tailored advice.
Throughout the content series, we will unpack the three most important digital transformation pillars for those looking to ensure business continuity and ongoing success in the new business-as-usual. They are:
- The New Workplace
- Efficiency and Optimisation
- Performance and Scalability.
RE:IMAGINE your IT business continuity
The New Workplace
ADAPT’s research found that more than three quarters of respondents managed to successfully provide access for employees to core applications, communications, and collaboration tools during the lockdown. However, only around half (57 per cent) of respondents were confident that the use of collaboration and communication tools was frictionless.
With remote work now a business norm, this portion of the content series will delve into how IT leaders can redefine success in workplace transformation, ensuring employees enjoy the frictionless connectivity to be productive and engaged. Most importantly, it will cover how IT can enable employees to be at their best, while minimising security vulnerabilities that have only multiplied as workers shift away from centralised office locations into a new hybrid IT landscape, amid a significant uptick in cyber attacks.
Efficiency and optimisation
ADAPT’s research found that around 71 per cent of respondents ranked reducing costs as a high priority as they respond to the challenges of COVID-19. Efficiency and optimisation have moved from the ‘to do’ list to the ‘must do’ list, as IT leaders look to develop a more structured and cost-effective approach.
From automating IT processes and delivery, consolidating multiple IT applications and modernising legacy infrastructure, a new normal demands a renewed focus on efficiency and optimisation as a foundation for recovery.
Performance and scalability
It may come as no surprise that virtualisation and cloud have turned out to be the most valuable technologies in the transition to remote working, according to ADAPT’s research. However, a significant challenge for many organisations was scaling remote access to their core business systems.
Now and going forward, the agility to handle changes in workload while delivering a reliable and secure employee and customer experience is increasingly an expectation – not a “nice to have”. By building elasticity into their infrastructure, IT leaders will deliver broader business benefits, from supporting an increase in demand for remote access, to quickly standing up a new customer interaction or supply chain solution.
Partnering for possibilities
To some it might feel like we are confronting the impossible – accelerating transformation amid uncertainty and cost constraints. But with the right insights from strategic, industry-leading partners and best practice processes, forward-thinking IT leaders have an opportunity like no other to RE:IMAGINE IT business continuity, defining and executing smart strategies that drive business performance.
Start to RE:IMAGINE your IT strategy by watching our launch webinar – an executive breakfast briefing featuring Harbour IT, our leading tech vendor partners and your peers.Watch Event Recording
Download your copy of the research report to RE:IMAGINE business continuity and the future of the IT-led organisation.Download eBook Now