We are living in strange times. Ever since we started working from home, interactions with humans have been replaced with talking to their rendered images and reconstructed voices. While nothing can replace a three-dimensional meeting, there is no denying that technology has come to our rescue with viable alternative at a time like this. It has made it possible for me to continue customer interactions with the same regularity as before.
Over the last eight weeks, I have been able to meet (virtually) with multiple CIOs. Each of these conversations has been incredibly insightful, as they have not only shared their personal experience in dealing with the situation, but also the challenges they faced as an organization, and how they are thinking about the future. While there are some nuances by industry – pharmaceuticals, FSI, ITeS, e-commerce, manufacturing – there are some common themes that have emerged.
For instance, the magnitude of this crisis has prompted businesses to make reactive decisions, due to which they are reviewing and re-writing their business continuity processes (BCPs) in the context of the pandemic. Conserving cash has become a priority for most organizations to tide over these times of lean business. IT projects are being closely scrutinized or re-prioritized, and those without a tangible ROI in the medium-term are either being deferred or canceled.
At the same time, there is a sharper focus on cloud, automation, AI/ML, robotics, IoT, and above all, cybersecurity. As a result, digitization effort is expected to gain momentum, especially in processes like packaging, logistics, manufacturing, etc. We can also expect to see a higher percentage of the workforce transitioning to “working from anywhere” permanently. The road to full recovery could be a long one, and therefore, we will have to pivot existing plans to operate in the new normal post-COVID-19.
Overall, there is a realization that technology can be leveraged to ensure business continuity, even in extreme circumstances. Therefore, enterprise IT architectures will now have to be re-imagined, considering the new future of work, which is where the concept of the “resilient, distributed enterprise” (RDE) becomes critical.
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