A year into the COVID-19 pandemic and the way organisations work has changed with everyone working from home and large cross sections of business adopt digital platforms. While most organisations have managed their transition to the digital world, many find it difficult to make that transition.
This raises the question of where organisations need to invest. “Organizations, if not already done, should be investing in the ability of their stakeholders to conduct business and operations remotely and collaborate using technology solutions. After one year of living with the pandemic, the available resources should have scaled up,” opines Arun Gupta, Technology Advisor, Shalby Limited.
With the second wave of COVID-19 wreaking havoc in the country, how does a CIO look at technology investments in this kind of uncertainty? Do they change the approaches, defer tech investments till the situation gets better on the ground?
Gupta is of the view that like every other CXO, the CIO is cognizant of the fact that available resources have shrunk and limited. “They are working with the leadership teams to optimise what they have and how they can sweat their assets and work with crunched resources. With no light visible on the horizon, we have to learn to live with the constraints and rethink our goals and plans with a focus on topline and bottomline.”
Sayed Peerzade, Group CIO, Reliance Entertainment is a firm believer in data in an earlier interaction with W.Media had pointed out that data-driven decision making, using AI, Machine Learning will be the way forward. “Budgets will have to be created through a combination of cost takeouts and fresh ones,” he says.
The adaptation of technology is becoming an important aspect for organisations to sustain their businesses. According to a Time of India report, the COVID19 pandemic has impacted 82 percent of small businesses in India.
The top challenges faced by the companies included access to the market, improving the overall productivity, and having access to more finance. Better credit facilities was the most voted aspect by companies 59 per cent of companies said it would help them in post COVID revival. Around 48 percent voted for better marketing support and 35 percent voted for adaptation of technology, the report added.
Understanding CIO’s role
In order to better understand how the CIO’s role has evolved, Adobe recently partnered with Fortune to survey more than 500 CIOs across the U.S. (200), EMEA (150) and APAC (156) regions. Adobe’s research reveals that CIOs sit at the centre of virtually every major business initiative in today’s digital-first economy, with 90 percent of U.S. CIOs (compared to 75 percent in EMEA and 85 percent in APAC) saying they feel pressure to digitally transform their business. With vaccine distribution now on track, businesses are tapping CIOs to help shape their return-to-work plans to ensure that employees can work productively and safely from any location.
“Despite the enormous weight on our shoulders, CIOs are stepping up to the challenge,” says Cynthia Stoddard, senior vice president and chief information officer at Adobe. “Along with other business leaders, we have embraced our enhanced responsibilities and influence as an opportunity to further collaborate and succeed in today’s new digital-first reality.” Customers are more conscious than ever of their data value-exchange with brands and gravitate towards companies they can trust to manage their data responsibly,” adds Stoddard. “As hybrid working models are set to become the norm post-pandemic, CIOs need to ensure their organizations have the right infrastructure and processes in place to keep data secure and compliant no matter where they are based.”