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Covid-19 Learnings from a CIO to Peer CIOs & Business Leadership

I am sharing some of my learnings for my peer CIO’s and business leaders in the industry. I am sure you and the IT team will Benefit From “IT”.

My Covid-19 learnings captured in ten points, based on my experience in helping businesses through economic crisis. CIO’s should focus their energies in the next weeks and months on the following ten actions:

 Focus on what matters now and plan for the Road Ahead.

Make Technology the “Front and Center“driving revenues and business continuity:

  1. Your PEOPLE FIRST: A CIO’s success in helping their people through this crisis is likely to have a significant effect on employee loyalty and retention in the future.
  2. Communicate confidently, consistently, and reliably at all levels: Uncertainty breeds fear and confusion: Set up regular briefings with leadership peers and your IT Team which builds trust and confidence. Just pushing out technology won’t work. CIOs need to prioritize reaching out to different business stakeholders to understand their needs and the pressures they are facing and managing in order to provide the right technology solutions.
  3. Get beyond the tech to make work-from-home work: New ways of working require a culture change. CIOs can help to drive the cultural change by sharing best practices. Networking and reaching out to peer Industry IT groups will benefit everyone. Crisis management is a cross-functional game and the CIO is perfectly placed to facilitate the new way of working.
  4. Drive adoption of new ways of working: Start right at the top. The CEO and the business leadership. Cascade, train and support at all levels. As a rule of thumb, getting a tool adopted requires twice the investment of having it developed in the first place
  5. Be proactive on security: Review VPN’s, remote access, security plans etc. Think and protect out of the box. Clamp down, assess and release. Communication and Awareness, among end users is key. They can make or break the best of security systems by falling prey to threat actors. Reward/compliment for good awareness and actions taken by them to protect the company’s interest.
  6. Stabilize critical infrastructure, systems, and processes: It’s a given if you are running a live business. Make it a part of operational diligence.
  7. Enable the shift in business processes: This is the time to influence and drive shift in business models as enabling CIO’s. Remember, IT, is in a key position to drive fundamental business changes. Drive Transformation and make technology the “core”of every business.
  8. Stay the course on key priorities: The goal for CIOs is to emerge from this is not having just “managed” the crisis but being stronger because of it. For this reason, it’s important for CIOs to keep a steady hand on business initiatives and programs that can help the business become tech forward. Start driving new revenue streams.
  9. Stay focused on customers: Customer behaviour is shifting radically during this time, and in many situations, to digital channels. CIOs should accelerate investments that create competitive advantage for their companies. CIOs need to support business leaders to design new business models with the help of technology and make it happen quickly.
  10. Understand implications of the ‘new normal.’ : The business impact of COVID-19 will inevitably require CIOs to cut costs, particularly in the short term. CIOs have the opportunity to become leaders of innovation, rather than merely effective managers of the downside.

How companies react to the new employee and customer needs will likely shape their competitiveness in the years to come.

CIOs who can manage and lead effectively, this can become their moment to shine.

The key for the CIOs to manage the uncertainty is to avoid a “react” and “respond” approach and have a long-term view in mind and re-strategizing after every win or loss. Make Technology the “Front and Center“ driving revenues and business continuity.

CIO’s need to have a three-horizon view in planning for Post COVID-19:

Survival, Revival and Revitalization


This article was first posted on LinkedIn by the author and is reposted here with his consent. 

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