The post-COVID era is more digital and more fast-paced than the years leading up to 2020, which is why it is important to develop a forward-thinking IT strategy and digital agenda.
As many businesses have pointed out, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about significant changes to the way we live, work, and conduct business.
During the pandemic we saw:
- The mass adoption of remote working practices and technologies
- Accelerated deployment of robots and automation
- Greater demand for digital products and services
- More online shopping
- Higher demand for online education
Trends such as these are not temporary–they will have a lasting impact on the state and the shape of the business world as we know it.
IT success in the next normal
As we proceed down the path to post-COVID recovery, CIOs, IT leaders, and business leaders should redesign their IT strategies for a “next normal” that looks significantly different from the pre-2020 era.
While the future certainly remains unwritten, many research firms and analysts share similar forecasts about the next normal.
Customers and employees, for example, will be more concerned about health and well-being.
That shift in sentiment, in turn, will drive demand for products and solutions such as:
- Digital products and services
- Online communications
- Online shopping
- Health-related products
- Home-related products
- Remote working options
Trends such as these will almost certainly fuel increased volatility, uncertainty, and speed in the post-COVID economy.
To prepare for that environment, business leaders should develop strategies that are designed to operate in such a dynamic and fast-paced setting.
Below, we’ll look at a few of the most important areas to examine when redesigning the IT strategy for the post-COVID era:
The workforce and the workplace
Employee agility is a prerequisite for organizational agility. It greatly contributes to the outcomes of digital transformation initiatives, digital adoption initiatives, and other organizational change programs.
As the world leans into technology as a primary business enablement solution, it is a good idea to develop IT strategies that center around areas such as:
Upskilling. Employee training has become essential for the modern worker. Since organizations continually adopt new tools and technologies, the digital workplace is undergoing continual change, and employees who wish to stay productive and relevant need to be continually trained.
Digital-first mindsets. The post-COVID world will be digital-first, so the workforce must also be digitally savvy and digitally friendly. When employees have a digital mindset, they will view technology as a core driver of value and innovation, rather than simply as tools or, worse, obstacles and sources of frustration.
A culture of learning. When employees are open to change and learning, they will be much more willing to support initiatives that fuel an organization’s progress. Digital transformation efforts, for instance, often involve significant learning, relearning, and even mindset changes. At first glance, IT may seem far removed from organizational culture, yet firms such as Gartner argue that IT leaders will, in fact, be key leaders of culture change efforts.
To sum up, it is important not only for the workforce to have the tools they need, but also the skills and the mindsets to innovate and stay agile.
Technology and processes
Since technology-driven innovation has led to so much of the marketplace disruption we see today, it is crucial to maintain a modern IT infrastructure, as well as adopt emerging technology and innovate aggressively.
Here are a few examples of areas to prioritize when creating a post-COVID IT strategy:
Integration of technology stacks. Digital complexity and fragmentation are two downsides to the mass proliferation of digital technology. To counter that complexity, it is important to find ways to centralize digital ecosystems through, for instance, composable software, centralized dashboards, and unified enterprise SaaS platforms. A digital adoption platform (DAP), for instance, is a self-service training solution that simplifies cross-platform workflows by offering automated guidance and contextualized support.
Innovation with emerging technology. Today’s emerging technology will become tomorrow’s norm. Since these technologies are still on the cutting-edge, it may take time for businesses to realize their full potential. Yet only companies who are willing to innovate and invest early on will stand a chance of becoming digital leaders in the years ahead.
Investment in people-centered technology. Customer sentiment and behavior can change quickly, so it is important to have the right technology to keep up with those changes. For instance, technologies that offer real-time insights, such as brand monitoring tools and real-time analytics platforms, can help companies stay agile and responsive, even in the face of rapidly changing market conditions.
In short, agility is just as important in the adoption of technology as it is in the adapting of business processes.
The economy and the world itself are becoming more digital by the day.
As we emerge into the post-COVID next normal, digital transformation will continue to accelerate and redefine the way we live, communicate, and do business.
Organizations must therefore rethink the way they approach technology and redefine the role of IT.
Refocusing the IT strategy towards the priorities covered above is a good first step towards attaining success in the next normal.