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This was a fun one.
Of course, all the research we do is fun, but when we get to do qualitative research and listen to practitioners talk about their challenges, the different approaches to those challenges, the teams they bring in, and their success stories, it really is engaging, enlightening and, yes, fun.
In June 2021, we interviewed 26 CIOs and CTOs across large corporations and organizations to:
- Explore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their business and their IT organization
- Identify common themes and hear practical ideas for building resilience and thriving during challenging times
Our research identified five areas where business leaders should focus to build resilient organizations that will thrive as we continue to live with the uncertainty of doing business during a global pandemic, and beyond.
Resilient organizations should focus on:
- Ensuring employee success
- Leveraging the ecosystem
- Employing cross-functional teams
- Using IT to enable innovation
- Being customer obsessed
When we dug into these themes, we realized that IT has a significant role to play within resilient organizations.
In the early months of the pandemic, IT responded quickly to support the business. Technology leaders shifted priorities and accelerated programs already in motion, especially digital transformation. IT also fast-tracked some programs, such as remote collaboration tools, curbside pick-up, and augmented reality.
Now that we’re out of “triage” mode, technology leaders need to balance speed, flexibility, and cost. IT is partnering with the business to reimagine customer and employee engagement, and many technology leaders are building more strategic vendor partnerships and pursuing vendor consolidation.
And in the words of the business and IT leaders we spoke with, there are some specific ways IT can help or is helping to build a resilient organization:
Ensuring employee success
“The key differentiator is always going to be our people. But empowering our people with the best technology is the critical differentiator that we can provide.”
Leveraging the ecosystem
“The next normal is defined by the intersection of organization, technology, and culture, and we’ve got the technology to adapt to the next normal. Our concern has always been, how does our organization and culture adapt?”
Employing cross-functional teams
“There is a lot of cross-pollination of knowledge. It’s putting on existing processes and handshakes, but it is also allowing us to think of new business processes and customer journeys. There’s more experimentation and once something works, we’ll say okay, let’s scale this.”
Using IT to enable innovation
“We’ve got to be careful about what we’re calling innovation. Technology itself is not innovation. Innovation has to be something that allows us to either transform a business process or to bring in new operating models, business models, or products.”
Being customer obsessed
“To be more customer centric, we have to understand the customer. In other words, we must understand where the customer’s data is within the organization. We don’t ping you in different marketing channels. We talk to you as one customer. The only way to do that is to have common platforms.”
In these future-oriented organizations, IT has earned its seat at the leadership table. In fact, resilient businesses rely more than others on technology innovation to execute business strategy, deliver value, drive efficiency, and reduce costs. In many instances, the business and technology strategies are one and the same; and for growth-oriented businesses, technology is a source for competitive advantage.
Thus, our advice to any organization that is looking to build its resiliency would be to not only invest in technology, but to truly make room for IT leaders at the leadership table.
To learn more about how IT can be a strategic force in your business, download the ITSMA Update, The Role of IT in Building Resilient Organizations.
Our research with CIOs and CTOs identified five areas where business leaders should focus to build resilient organizations.