Viewpoints

The Survivor’s Execution Plan and 2020 Recap for CIOs


November 10, 2020 – 2020 will be remembered for a long-time.  IT leadership has been anointed the MVP and corporate heroes in most organizations, after jumping into high gear in early March to pivot millions of employees to work from home.  Teams further went on to stabilize access to corporate data and applications in this new remote-first reality. But this was just the beginning of what now looks like a new normal, highly agile, digital-first IT landscape that will enable the survival of many thousands of companies around the globe. We spoke with many CXOs throughout 2020 who accomplished some major feats, and at a speed of deployment like never before.

2020 Stages of IT Leadership and Resilience – The Survivor’s Execution Plan and Recap for CIOs

WFH Now! – After kicking off a 2020 priorities plans, early March changed the world, and teams had to pivot to nearly 90% of their employees working remotely (most for the first time) and fully functional within days. Most companies seemed to have succeeded well

Access to Everything – The next demand was the need to ensure corporate data and application access for these new remote teams. SaaS and cloud first applications won the day, older applications struggled, and accelerated the transition to cloud deployment models or retiring legacy apps altogether

New Security Needs – Each remote employee essentially became a new ‘branch office:’ Everyone needed a VPN set-up, secure application access, and new home office equipment with helpdesk support and more

Urgent Priorities – If in January of 2020 teams had a well-planned set of goals and priorities for the year, by March those plans were out the window. Priorities were reset and with a new level of urgency that did not allow for normal planning, testing, and onboarding.  Agility and long hours became part of this chaotic new agenda

Digital 1st – Enterprise applications now needed a digital first deployment model to support this remote first world. This digital-first theme has been underway for years, but March 2020 was the kickoff of a new high-speed race, and simultaneously put pressure on old/legacy apps that couldn’t make the transition

Automation – Bots, RPA, AI / ML were rolled out to drive automation of tasks, support IT operations, and support customers in more self-service environments. 2021 may be the year of automation at scale to support increasing productivity demands

Infrastructure – Cloud-first architecture and remote teams are driving the new software defined network and application model, with multi-cloud deployment and SD-WAN supporting always-on access, but reducing the Capex spend models of the past

Costs – There has been a re-rationalization of overall IT spending with tighter scrutiny on underperforming assets and projects that may no longer meet productivity or business impact goals

Resilience – Companies are now starting to consider new realities of disaster planning and resiliency – How to plan for a 100-year, global pandemic, nation-state attacks, new supply chains and operations models, etc. COVID has reset the old DR models and disaster planning drills to a whole new level of resiliency.

Leadership – Grit, Empathy, Compassion, Optimism, Flexibility, and Authenticity are some of the current leadership themes we are hearing from the many CXOs we have spoken to across the globe this year…amazing times for sure and amazing results and accomplishments for CXOs in 2020