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A Look at Today—The “New Normal”

We’ve reviewed the year that was, how business big and small had to fast forward their digital transformation to accommodate remote work and keep their businesses in business. Some IT leaders have said because of the pandemic, they were able to expedite digitalization and digital transformation within their organizations. Efforts previously envisioned to take months or years were moved forward and achieved in a matter of weeks. These efforts literally changed the way business did business by enabling new business models based on the use of technology. In healthcare, telemedicine—long resisted by both medical professionals and patients—became an acceptable alternative for many in-office visits. Traditional dine-in restaurants were able to pivot operations and offer take out or delivery options. Grocers and other retail stores quickly stood up curbside pick-up, online shopping, and delivery options for their customers. IT found ways to work smarter as well. IT automation projects were fast-tracked, resulting in greater efficiency, reduction in errors, improvements in productivity, and increases in automated workflows.

Where Are We Now?

But as the dust starts to settle a bit and organizations begin to emerge from the effects of the pandemic, the picture isn’t as crisp and clear as perhaps it could be. For many organizations, some things are clunky. Working from home is working, but there’s too much jumping from system to system, which slows down productivity and increases frustration. Working from home exposed bottlenecks and ambiguity in how work was getting done while everyone was in the office. Those unplanned but necessary investments in technology kept the lights on. But now the question is what to do with all the new technology? Is it aligned with business strategy? In some cases, the rush to keep the business in business resulted in random mash ups of technology, which, when coupled with cost cutting and job losses, left organizations in a difficult situation. Organizations quickly moved to digitize existing processes. In some cases, those efforts resulted in expedited projects that drove digital transformation within the organization. But in the face of reduced revenues, cost cutting, and job losses, many of those digital transformation efforts have stalled. And some organizations are pushing to have employees come back to work, after a year of working from home.

Going Hybrid

One of the most discussed models to come out from the pandemic has been the hybrid-remote working model. With workplaces beginning to open up more and more as of late, the lingering question many companies face is whether they will go back to “normal” or if they will implement a fully remote or hybrid-remote working model. Regardless of your organization’s take on how your workforce will continue to operate; you need to have plans and solutions in place to easily support your employees across all areas, no matter where they’re working.

3 Considerations for IT Organizations Now

In our first blog of this series, we reviewed the effects of the pandemic on small business. We discussed three things you should consider as your response after the pandemic; now here’s three things you should be doing now. Formally evaluate pandemic-related technology investments—Those early investments in technology kept the business in business—but it likely was implemented with little to no evaluation of capabilities or features. Now is the time to re-evaluate those investments. Can those new technologies enable new capabilities for the company? Is the employee experience seamless, or has technology introduced friction into day-to-day operations? Conduct a formal security review—In the rush of responding to the pandemic, IT security solutions that didn’t support a work-from-home scenario may have been “overlooked.” Perhaps access methods need to be hardened or laptop computers need software installed that encrypts data stored on the hard drive. Maybe policies need to be revised to reflect “work from anywhere” scenarios. Take an objective look at the security posture of your organization—it likely needs to be updated. Consolidate your vendors—In the sudden move to a remote workforce, different vendors might have popped up for different pointed solutions, consolidating your IT vendors can help reduce inefficiency and increase buying power. Look for vendors that can scale with you, whether you’re a small- to medium-sized business (SMB) or a big enterprise, a short list of vendors offering the right solutions can simplify your processes and help your IT teams help your workforce.
Doug Tedder
Doug is a recognized thought leader who is equally adept in interactions from senior leadership to day-to-day practitioners. His passion is helping and inspiring IT…
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