As Bob Violino put it in a recent CIO piece, “The current environment is forcing tech executives to consider which areas cannot afford any cutting, and where they might want to direct spending to get the most out of their IT dollars.” As companies revamp their IT budgets to support our new way of working, following are some key areas to consider.
Remote work and employee/customer access
Violino writes, “For most organizations, the pandemic has led to a massive shift to a work-from-home model that in many cases may be permanent or at least long term.” In addition, for sectors like healthcare, lockdown restrictions also entailed learning how to serve customers remotely. Given all of the unknowns surrounding COVID-19, organizations would be wise to invest in technologies that further enable remote work and remote access to services. Ensuring that IT infrastructure is prepared to support a prolonged period of remote access is critical and worthy of additional budget allocation.
Customer communication and engagement
It’s important that customers continue to feel that companies are active, present, and engaged. For businesses that traditionally conveyed these sentiments through in-person transactions, this might require investing in additional platforms or collaboration technologies. Also, when organizations are vetting these solutions, it’s important to be mindful of the customer experience and avoid features that could lead to churn. For example, clunky software, numerous security restrictions, or the need to download additional plug ins can easily frustrate users and cause them to abandon the brand.
According to Violino, “In the past few years, investments in cybersecurity tools and services have been on the rise. But the pandemic and resulting work-from-home shift has made systems and data protection an even bigger concern for many organizations.” It’s important that companies invest in VPNs, secure virtual desktop infrastructure sessions, and additional authentication mechanisms like MFA and adaptive authentication in order to protect sensitive corporate data. It’s also a good idea to allocate some money to employee security awareness training to ensure that the remote workforce does not inadvertently become a security vulnerability.
APIs connect data across applications, systems, and devices and play an intrinsic role in a company’s ability to adapt quickly to changing consumer buyer patterns. Violino describes a company that leveraged APIs to streamline the ordering process across multiple delivery service providers—a critical differentiator as people flocked to online ordering at the height of the pandemic.
With a reallocation of IT budgets comes the need for skilled professionals to move important projects forward. Many companies may be willing to invest more in recruiting and hiring efforts to find the right people necessary to support the above trends and other IT priorities emerging from the pandemic.
To learn more, read the CIO article here.