Conflicting opinions circulate regarding how organizations will unwind from the pandemic disruption. Some decision-makers are considering reactionary measures such as across-the-board cuts to offset revenue dips due to the economic downturn. Others plan to engage in high-level analysis of what strategies worked, which didn’t, and develop a plan to move forward.
“CFOs are unsure what reopening will look like and have little visibility into when revenue will start to normalize. This is driving CFOs to look for the next round of structural cost cuts to preserve cash for the coming months,” Gartner finance practice vice president Alexander Bant reportedly said. “Companies are conducting robust analysis about which of their business lines and product sets they will rescale, reinvest, return, reduce, and retire. As they do this, they are determining which sets of staff they need to succeed in the short-and-long-term.”
Gartner research also indicates that upwards of 74 percent of CFOs plan to maintain some level of a remote workforce. Clearly, IT infrastructure will influence the post-pandemic landscape. That being said, these are three burning questions industry leaders would be wise to consider with the help of a managed IT expert.
Health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among others, explained that social distancing was necessary to flatten the coronavirus infection rate curve. That fact turned into widespread Stay at Home mandates that, in turn, prompted many non-essential businesses to rely on remote workforces. Although the pandemic forced the issue, industry leaders have quickly discovered that leveraging IT infrastructure delivered significant benefits.
“COVID-19 shifted the way work is done by most organizations overnight. Companies are now operating in remote environments, with less staff to run key processes, and under immense cost pressure. This has resulted in companies moving more quickly to the cloud, applying more robotics to their processes, and exposing the need for advanced analytic technologies to plan effectively in this environment,” Bant reportedly said.
CFOs reportedly believe that leveraging remote IT capabilities ranked among the changes that delivered overwhelmingly positive results. According to a Gartner survey, “24 percent of finance executives anticipate more spending on robotic process automation (RPA), 20 percent anticipate more spending on cloud-based ERP technologies, and 19 percent anticipate more spending on advanced analytics.”
Perhaps the most substantial business planning fail during the COVID-19 uptick was capital expenditure reinvestment. Leased office space and computer hardware spending appear to have not worked out. Of course, these items were considered business building blocks until expansive cloud utilization dispelled that myth.
“CFOs across enterprises have been discussing hypothetical situations in which more employees permanently work remotely,” Bant reportedly said. “This has quickly become a reality and will change the corporate real estate landscape going forward.”
Remote workforces via the cloud appear to be paving the way for reduced brick-and-mortar needs and increased video conferencing using platforms such as Microsoft Teams, among others.
Public health officials have issued pointed warnings that ripple effects and a second COVID-19 peak could lay ahead. Harvard epidemiology Prof. Marc Lipsitch points out few are considering how to handle a second crisis.
“Almost every government is talking about lifting control measures. Not every government, but many, because of the economic burdens,” Prof. Lipsitch reportedly said. “But the downside is that many jurisdictions will have a plan to open up but not a plan to re-close, leading to more situations like New York, New Orleans, and Detroit where there are extreme strains on the health care.”
His statement resonates not only across government agencies but industry decision-makers as well. What organizations do now as they untangle from pandemic lockdowns and pursue profit-raising opportunities will impact the ability to navigate a potential second disruption. Savvy entrepreneurs and CEOs are already engaged in scenario planning sessions with managed IT experts.
By conducting post-pandemic surge analysis about what worked and fell short, an informed decision can be made now to handle future adversity more seamlessly. The one thing you can bank on is that IT infrastructure will remain a key to success.