The unprecedented disruption brought about by COVID-19 has caused organizations to accelerate their digital transformation journey in order to meet customer demands and stay ahead of their competition. Businesses are adopting digital tools to enhance business efficiency, data security, and to build a virtual work-force out of the existing incumbent employees. This, however, requires IT teams to quickly pivot from traditional processes to new-age digital mandates with time, cost and resources to ensure seamless business continuity.
CIOs need to design a system architecture with resilience, agility, and scalability at its core. They need to prioritize business continuity and IT security to be able to pivot efficiently. The situation has created a need for stress-testing the application and infrastructure landscape in order to bring more stability and resilience. Business-critical processes that rely heavily on off-line data and manual interventions have to be transformed with the help of digital tools. CIOs need to facilitate this transformation across business processes, and train existing incumbents to convert them into a virtual, future-ready, workforce.
Businesses are facing a lot of challenges due to the unprecedented disruption, such as:
- Sudden increase or decrease in product/service demand
- Workforce not being able to meet project deadlines due to technical/network issues, or non-availability
- Data theft and security risks on devices that are out-of-the-system; deferred critical patches/updates on those devices
- Unable to access on-premise business critical applications for processes such as finance, IT, marketing
- Employees lacking digital skills to adapt to new digital business processes
The new normal has underscored the need for agile and dynamic infrastructure and application landscape. Businesses need to build a robust digital transformation plan that facilitates business continuity and IT security. They need to rethink their information communication technology (ICT) investments considering agility and scale. When businesses think of capital investment in ICT, they need to think about cloud infrastructure. A cloud-based ICT landscape empowers businesses to create a dynamic IT ecosystem that enables business continuity during the pandemic.
There are many reasons to move your business to the cloud, such as:
- Remote access to business-critical applications with data security in place
- Regular and automatic updates and patches with Enterprise Cloud-based services
- Reduction in Infrastructure cost
- Low cost of ownership
- On-demand agile and scalable infrastructure
While most businesses are content with business-critical ICT transformation, the avant-garde look for a bit more innovation, contributing some part of the investment towards disruptive technologies such as Automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML).
Digital transformation is here to stay. CIOs need to undertake the following measures to enable a smooth transition into their digital ICT landscape.
- ICT-on-Cloud: Complete application and infrastructure ecosystem on cloud with OEMs providing Cloud-as-a-Service (CaaS)
- Virtual Workplace: Investing in collaboration platforms to build a digital and virtual workplace for business teams to collaborate and deliver
- Future-ready Talent Pool: Interactive training sessions in collaboration with ITes experts to create a future-ready digital workforce
- Data Security: Partnering with best-in-class security service providers to build a strong and resilient security management ecosystem
- Automation: Leveraging cognitive automation tools to enhance process efficiency and accuracy.
With changing times, CIOs need to prioritize their goals and investments with a clear focus on digital transformation. They can start by taking incremental steps by investing in an ERP or CRM, and move towards being a completely digital-native enterprise.