by Byron Connolly

APAC pandemic lessons: Delivery of projects reaches urgent levels in Australia

May 13, 2020
IT Leadership

Editorial leaders from CIO editions in ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand and India share in-market challenges, key lessons and examples of best practice during COVID-19.

How Asia-Pacific CIOs responded to COVID-19

Following the hard-hitting sucker punch delivered by COVID-19, the world is slowly sobering up to the social and economic realities of such a devastating pandemic. Whether in Bangkok or Brisbane, Ahmedabad or Auckland, businesses are adjusting in real time as market dynamics continue to shift at pace, placing the CIO at the epicentre of such response efforts.

Editors from the CIO editions in ASEAN, Australia, New Zealand and India have joined forces to share in-market challenges, key lessons and examples of best practice across the Asia-Pacific region during the COVID-19 pandemic:

These insights were delivered during a recorded virtual roundtable, offering on-the-ground commentary from IDG’s editors in Singapore, Sydney, Auckland and Mumbai.

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Australian organisations to deliver technology projects with a new level of urgency. Companies in all market sectors are deploying solutions that address specific challenges related to the pandemic, making such changes almost overnight.

This means that technology chiefs in Australia are under more pressure than ever to provide technologies for staff who are working remotely. Some have the technologies already in place and others have been scrambling. In addition, airline and retail industries are under enormous pressure with job losses, with CIOs in these markets clearly having something to worry about.

CIO Australia spoke to a range of organisations across government, education and healthcare sectors to gauge response levels to COVID-19.

In government, the New South Wales Police shifted thousands of staff to remote working environments in only a few days, scaling up access capabilities from a few hundred to around 10,000 users. CIO Gordon Dunsford and his team also rolled out ‘command post IT’ or technology services for police who are managing around 4,500 people in hotel quarantine across more than 20 hotels in Australia.

Meanwhile in education, the Australian National University configured a crisis management platform that protects and informs 25,000 students, broadcasting critical information with students, staff members and the wider community.

In healthcare, Bupa moved 4,000 office-bound staff to remote working environments, 800 call centre staff, customer face teams have moved to digital operations from home so they could continue to serve customers.

Analyst IDC expects that technology services contracts, often spanning multiple years, will generally be adhered to. But some Australian organisations have already put large projects already well underway on hold. For example, Australia Post recently said it would pause or stop its IT projects and stand down contractors. This will have a big impact on the organisation’s rebuild and migration of the legacy core layer in a public cloud environment.

Immediate priority for customers is the movement of resources away from IT towards new areas to respond to COVID-19. IDC noted that some senior leaders, with IT services contract sign-off power, have been reallocated towards COVID-19 business risk mitigation.