8 tips for driving digital strategy during COVID-19

The coronavirus crisis has upended operations as we knew them. To meet the challenge, CIOs must channel a lean startup mentality and rethink their approaches to managing IT.

8 tips for driving digital strategy during COVID-19
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From deliverable schedules to procurement windows, virtually every IT timeline has been compressed by the coronavirus crisis. Those three- to five-year horizons for digital transformations? They've shrunk to months thanks to the pandemic, say some CIOs and consultants.

As is often the case, the truth is more nuanced. Big Bang transformations have been streamlined — not sidelined — in favor of short-term priorities. Having stabilized email, boosted bandwidth and battle-tested VPNs to fulfill mandatory work-from-home policies, CIOs have set their sights on innovation. Companies such as Nationwide have digitized software development to accommodate employees working remotely and to serve customers without a hitch.

The new normal

Such is the new normal for most large companies, and IT “will be in the middle of that,” according to Rick Pastore, senior research director of The Hackett Group. Mobile devices and software, cloud and other digital tools grant CIOs greater flexibility than they've had previously in supporting how and where employees work, Pastore says.

Moreover, objections to smart automation, machine learning, advanced analytics and other emerging technologies that require robust investments will "melt away" — if they haven't already, Pastore predicts. Many CIOs have created new analytics dashboards to chart productivity and have built bots to digitize manual tasks. Others have changed the way they meet with business peers during the pandemic, with a mind toward preserving that method in the future.

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