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Working from home becomes a corporate IT triumph

Tech’s COVID-19 boost

C-level execs have been successful with their business continuity plans and working from home strategies and that could herald a renaissance for IT departments..

Insight and research advisory ADAPT surveyed 217 C-level executives to gauge the COVID-19 response and recovery of ANZ businesses over the first two weeks of April and found About 61% of respondents said their established business continuity plans were highly effective in facing up to COVID-19 related situations.

Similarly, over two thirds of respondents said the shift from working to home was frictionless and their organisations were able to maintain business as usual despite the disruption.

The report claims “there is a high chance that a post-COVID-era could be a renaissance period where technology leaders truly become business leaders.”

Matt Boon, ADAPT’s Director of Strategic Research, told Information Age ,“During COVID-19 the role of the CIO and IT took on extra significance and importance as organisations scrambled to deliver capabilities, services and information remotely and via the cloud, and they rose to the challenge when the chips were down, confirmed by 80% of respondents to our survey who said that IT played a strategic partner role in the COVID-19 war room.

“Australian and New Zealand tech leaders rose to the challenge to maintain business as usual, when nothing around them could be called usual.

“In these uncertain times, shadow IT was pushed aside in favour of tried and practiced approaches to business continuity planning leading to something of a CIO renaissance, when it came to importance and value.”

The survey also found around three-quarters of the C-level executives, working at 197 different Australian and New Zealand organisations with over $500m in revenue, reported they had no problem in accessing core business applications and communications services during the transition to remote working.

Senior Research Strategist at ADAPT, Aparna Sundararajan, told Information Age this was due to CIOs and IT managers working closely with their organisations’ senior leadership.

“This is probably the first time when CEOs and technology leaders worked so closely to truly empower people truly and consequently, the business. Some respondents told us CEOs were closely involved with the technology leaders to help quicken the execution.”

However, the news for IT departments was not all good with 47% of respondents expecting budget reductions over the rest of this year, up from 26% in a survey just a month earlier.

Reducing overall business costs also went from being the seventh most priority to number one during that period.

Non-tech executives were less impressed with the performance of their tech colleagues with the survey finding only 40% of COOs and CFOs believed that believed their organisations’ business continuity plans were seamless as opposed to 65% of CTOs.

This skepticism of non-tech management and the environment of reducing costs means IT managers should be more forceful in pushing their successes says Sundararajan.

“Technology leaders must not forget to measure the successes of proven technologies during COVID-19; they should measure the usage, adoption and satisfaction from such technologies to show real business benefit.

“Several technology projects do not show an immediate ROI to business success. Take the case of collaboration and communication tools; in a regular scenario, they would not directly attribute to business success. But within this environment, they become essential to digital business delivery and success.”

There are a number of things technology leaders must right now to improve their value to senior management, Sundararajan said.

“Assess the usage of proven technologies during the crisis – especially cloud, collaboration, communication, security tools – assess their business outcome and monitor it. Align the three and consistently report to the senior management.

“Target most impacted business areas (customer service, supply chain, financial planning) in the current scenario and assess its business impact. Then find the most suitable technology investments that could help.

“Use that newfound C-suite access to present these business cases.”

Article originally published by ACS
Written by: Paul Wallbank
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