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How IT Can Thrive in the New Normal and Beyond


By Stephen Ludlow, SVP Product Management at OpenText

With little notice, the pandemic thrust CIOs into a position of supreme importance at their organizations. A Deloitte report puts it this way: "Never has there been a time in which the role of the CIO and other digital technology leaders has been so pivotal to shaping the future of their organization." No pressure, right?

CIOs' time to shine

During COVID-19, organizations suddenly realized how far they must go in their digital transformation journeys, particularly in the realm of information modernization. It set the stage perfectly for CIOs to lead the charge in accelerating the organization's digital goals. They would be seen as they always should have - partners in shaping business strategy.

In my role, I work with many companies that still rely on paper-based processes. When there was a sudden shift to remote work, these companies were faced with massive challenges. Even organizations that already digitized became aware their data still needed to be cleansed and integrated before they could benefit from advanced technologies, like artificial intelligence, analytics and automation. These companies turned to their IT leaders to accelerate modernization and strengthen business models.

As a CIO or technology influencer, there is still a unique opportunity to use your skills and experience to optimize how your organization moves forward. To prepare for the next phase of the new reality, it remains critical to adopt an entrepreneurial stance, take some risks by rethinking existing IT strategies and priorities, and communicate your vision clearly and convincingly.

The new shape of IT

On the road to post-pandemic recovery and revitalization, quick tech fixes will break down, prove inefficient, or introduce new challenges such as governance or integration. It's clear that IT leaders will be forced to choose winners to preserve or invest in and losers to cut or divest, and, according to Gartner, they should make informed decisions that foster business continuity without "needlessly mortgaging the future."

These choices should also relieve IT of time- and cost-intensive maintenance to reinforce their position as strategic partners. Here are some key considerations:

Cost factors

Given the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, nearly half of 400 IT leaders surveyed said their top priority is cost control and expense management this year.  Balancing business needs with resources comes naturally to IT leaders, but what's shifting is where they're spending IT dollars.  It's time to invest for long-term impact, with an emphasis on resilient infrastructure and cost flexibility.

IDC forecasts global IT software spend will increase by 2% amidst an overall decline of up to 5% in 2020.  The purchases being prioritized support a remote workforce, such as content management and collaboration applications. But equally important will be the cloud for its ability to scale quickly and reliably to workforce and customer behavior shifts, and also for its predictable cost structure. Gartner forecasts 19% growth in public cloud services in 2020. This reallocation of cost, risk, and performance management will be the guiding principle in IT during the next stages of the pandemic.

Partner to succeed

Digital transformation projects aren't easy to implement in the best of times, but here's no time for failure during this recovery period.  One pre-pandemic survey found 90% of IT projects fail to meet expectations due to complexity and inadequate expertise, along with a lack of maintenance and poor innovation. The solution, for many organizations, is to find strategic technology partners with deep industry knowledge and a proven track record of success.

Strategic IT teams are outsourcing to managed services to bridge the gap between internal IT capacity and the current demand for scalable, high-performance systems.  They also provide much-needed expertise in areas such as content services, cyber resilience, and advanced technologies (AI, analytics, and more) that deliver vital business intelligence to help navigate the new reality.

Constructive redeployment

Despite the immense pressure on CIOs today, the changes brought by the pandemic present exciting opportunities for renewal in IT. By shifting away from high-maintenance legacy systems toward modern cloud-native architectures and more managed services, IT staff can put their skills and expertise to better use.

People can be re-assigned into projects that improve operations and customers' experiences. Or they could get extra training on advanced technologies like AI or Automation and apply it towards the organization's core business. Now that the initial scramble is over, there's time to reimagine the technologies and processes that will power your business in the months and years ahead. 



Stephen Ludlow, SVP Product Management at OpenText

Stephen Ludlow 

Stephen is a senior leader with 20+ years of strategy, product management, marketing, and professional services experience in Enterprise Software. Successful track record in defining business and product strategy, M&A, go-to-market, analyst relations, digital marketing, and sales enablement to drive top-line growth. Currently, Stephen leads Product Management for OpenText. He is a past board member of AIIM, the Association for Intelligent Information Management, a trusted not-for-profit industry organization who maintains that information is our most important asset.  This leads to the frequent opportunity to speak at industry and customer events on Information Management trends, technologies and best practices.

Published Thursday, March 04, 2021 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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