June 25, 2020
If the COVID-19 pandemic has proven anything, it’s that we rely on technology for just about every aspect of day-to-day life. As companies continue to tailor and streamline their business into the unknown, more and more responsibilities fall onto the shoulders of CIOs, making it clear that they’re taking on the central role.
The sudden spotlight may seem overwhelming, but after breaking down the newly added responsibility, CIOs should shift their focus to their employees and the most important tasks the organization must take on.
What steps can organizations take to prioritize their employees?
You have to remember that this is an unprecedented time for everyone. CIOs should acknowledge that people may have different priorities now, for instance, caring for children out of school or daycare or caring for loved ones, all while working. It’s important to be empathetic and provide flexible work arrangements. Open communication is key to maintain confidence and boost morale.
How can organizations help uplift employees in a professional setting?
Up-to-date video conferencing and collaboration tools
The challenges of working remotely aren’t just limited to your employee’s lives outside of work. Issues ranging from poor connectivity to outdated software can make remote work more complicated than it already is. CIOs need to consider the best course of action to ensure their employees are adequately equipped to succeed. Investing in quality conferencing capabilities, additional licensing, and upgrades can make a world of a difference.
Investing in new technologies
The pandemic is a crucial to think ahead. The end will not mean the end of remote work; a large part of the workforce may not return to the traditional office setting. Accounting for the present challenges is an investment into the future. Automation is on the rise, with popular tools like RPAs automating simple business processes and allowing employees to focus on more valuable work.
Investing in employee training and development
While technology is always ready for people, people aren’t always ready for technology. Rolling out new software while the majority works remotely is a daunting task. Organizations must account for the learning curve and invest in training. This shouldn’t be seen as a sunk cost, it’s a direct investment into the employee’s future with the organization. Many roles and responsibilities have changed, and with proper training and development, many employees will come out of the pandemic more qualified to take certain work.
What should CIOs be concerned about with the rapid switch to remote work?
The recent shift to remote work has seen an uptick in security breaches and attacks. The increase in traffic is putting on infrastructure and causing it to buckle down. While organizations tend to have strict rules surrounding data sharing, it may be harder to manage these remotely. Every security measure available should be taken to ensure that no data is lost or stolen, and staff should be adequately trained to proceed cautiously. It’s much better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to cybersecurity.
How can organizations deal with network and bandwidth capacity?
Some things are completely out of our hands. Even the best ISPs may slow down from time to time. Bandwidth and network capacity issues are to be expected, both internally and externally. While organizations do their best to optimize their tech, there will be errors and outages; no one could have predicted the traffic some organizations are seeing. The same goes for the telephony network, which is under strain like it has never been before. At the end of the day, everyone is facing more or less the same issues.
How can organizations stabilize critical IT infrastructure, core system operations and shift in business processes?
The massive increase of application use is straining critical IT infrastructure leading to disruption and system downtime. CIOs have to make sure that organizations are working at capacity and keeping up with client demands. They must help in prioritizing systems and critical applications to work and prioritize stabilizing them. The CIO’s main duty is to think beyond this and prepare the IT systems accordingly.
As the pandemic changes roles, responsibilities, and business processes, CIOs have risen as the leaders that organizations need to steer both employees and technologies in the right direction.