CIOs Must Now Fortify Business Flexibility and Resiliency

Nancy J. Delong

COVID-19 has exposed significant cracks in companies’ electronic abilities, forcing CIOs to bolster their resiliency, responsiveness, versatility, and adaptation.

The pandemic has put companies’ electronic maturity to the examination and disclosed weaknesses and cracks — some of which might have been regarded a precedence but consciously de-prioritized. In hindsight, what electronic abilities would you have invested in two-three many years in the past to assist prepare for this time?

The current disaster was a wake-up call to maximize resiliency, facts-pushed perception and visibility, and develop an anti-fragile and nimble enterprise framework to let leaders to make quick selections and react to an surroundings with variable and risky sector disorders — practically shifting each day.

Image: Viktor -

Graphic: Viktor –

Supply chain versatility in a pre-disaster planet was about enabling scale development, greater forecasting and organizing, optimized selection-building relating to creation and inventory, and product or service innovation.  Submit-COVID-19, we will need to be able to do all of those people factors Furthermore make day-to-day creation selections, shift regional creation (e.g., from China to Latin America), comprehend the cost and timing implications of these selections, and change pricing and customer expectations accordingly. Analytics and forecasting embedded during the offer chain will be significant to detect alerts and optimize the value chain component.

For US firms, we have so much noticed a few stages of response to the pandemic:

  • Stage 1 (late 2019): Impact checking
  • Stage two (Jan-Feb 2020): Supply chain shifts to stay away from outages and disruption
  • Stage three (Mar 2020): Organization continuity organizing, danger assessment, disaster response

There are a few forms of enterprise abilities required for all stages of disaster response:

  1. Awareness: Reporting, insights, financial position, effectiveness
  2. Anticipation: Need and offer forecasting, sector intelligence, danger administration
  3. Reaction: Supply chain administration, workforce administration, communication and collaboration

For firms that have these abilities in position and running efficiently, disaster response endeavours are targeted on strategy and response — which is an iterative approach. Even so, for firms that have varying degrees of maturity in these regions of functionality, firms have no preference but to leverage their persons to deliver them manually — which is slow and mistake-inclined and normally takes absent from endeavours to focus on strategy and response.

The CIO’s highway forward: Scenarios and strategic implications

Selections made now will have profound very long-time period impacts. The most elementary strategic issue is when the planet will bounce back again. All other concerns all over the mother nature of the bounce, the influence of the bounce, the duration of the bounce — those people are all crucial, but secondary to anticipating when that bounce will occur. There are a few eventualities informing the CIO’s 2020-21 agenda:

State of affairs A: Brief Rebound (Q2 2020): Virus is contained with no recurrence, with powerful and quick financial rebound to pre-disaster levels. These would drive the enterprise requirements to be organized for fulfilling development throughout electronic channels.  This would require investments in self-support equipment and augmenting e-commerce answers.

State of affairs B: Calculated Uptick (This autumn 2020): Virus is slowly contained and there is a calibrated financial progression toward pre-disaster levels. This would drive the enterprise will need for 6-8 months’ survival program and the will need to reconfigure offer chains, automate manufacturing and build electronic products and solutions.

State of affairs C: Prolonged Drag (Q2 2021): Virus carries on with recurrences and there is extended shut-down with slow and unsure financial restoration. This would drive the enterprise will need for a twelve-16 months’ survival program and ensure functions by participating associates (clients, suppliers, workers, regulators). This would require investments in communication platforms, these as modernizing significant legacy programs with automation of back again-business programs.

The outbreak is going immediately now, and firms will need to be organized to shift and refresh eventualities based mostly on top indicators of how the pandemic is evolving.

No regrets moves (irrespective of scenario)

  • Help new strategies of working: Aim on building remote workers and associates effective by provisioning, training and adoption of collaboration equipment (e.g. video conferencing, remote accessibility systems, suitable bandwidth) and systems.
  • Safeguard perimeter: Double down on cyber security abilities and security. Cyber-assaults are rising, and with additional virtual personnel, exposure is increased.
  • Speed up adoption to the Cloud: Cloud has verified to be additional scalable and responsible and makes it possible for for variable cost framework with potential to scale up and down promptly.
  • Increase significant procedure resilience: Preserve uptime in enterprise-significant programs. Now’s the time to enhance capability to tackle additional traffic (e.g., on purchaser-experiencing apps or ecommerce) and strengthen self-support equipment.
  • Reduce IT charges aggressively: Companies can just take several steps, such as participating with suppliers to search for relief through this tricky time, extending asset refresh cycles, and deferring upgrades.

Get-legal rights for returning to ordinary

Companies should stay dedicated to broader transformation aims and emerge from this disaster not acquiring just “managed” but becoming more powerful regardless of it all.  IT investments really should empower firms to be additional adaptable and adaptable. Listed here are some examples of steps each IT leader really should just take:

  • Scrutinize the total project portfolio (no Holy Grails) to measure the tangible influence it can deliver and how it suits in with the new priorities.
  • Proceed only tasks that are previously almost entire, reshape or decrease scope of other tasks, and apply a a great deal additional arduous approach to the collection and progression of new tasks.
  • Defer prepared (not mobilized) tasks for sixty-ninety days, and constantly re-consider their initiation.
  • Reassess prioritization of return on financial commitment based mostly on enterprise criticality. Some new tasks that assist the enterprise cope with the disruptions prompted by the pandemic really should be retained or even expanded.
  • Assess if the project can nevertheless be delivered internally or with possibly affected suppliers.
  • Revisit assumptions, these as, “Does the project think working offer chains?”
  • Mobilize a cross-functional workforce that periodically (e.g., each thirty days) re-evaluates the IT investments, a great deal like an Agile workforce.


COVID-19 has disclosed weaknesses in businesses’ electronic abilities. Now is the chance to refresh the CIO’s 2020 agenda, setting up a enterprise that is resilient, agile, and adaptable. In the many years that comply with, we will search back again on this time and use our hindsight to consider whether or not we made the finest use of it to devote in our very long-time period accomplishment.

Joshua Swartz is a Spouse in the Electronic Transformation practice of Kearney, a world wide strategy and administration consulting agency.

Suketu Gandhi  is a Spouse and International Tower leader in Electronic Supply Chain at Kearney.

Himanshu Jain is a principal in Kearney’s Electronic Transformation practice.


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