3 strategic ways to transform your business’s IT strategy

16/09/2020

COVID19 has supercharged digital transformation by creating a sink or swim situation for businesses worldwide. Companies have had to adapt and progress more quickly than before to either strengthen or improve their digital environments. There is no end in sight to this global pandemic. With a growing concern that the UK may be heading into a second lock down, now is the time to reassess digital initiatives to better position your business in an ever-turbulent world. We share 3 immediate actions that a business can take to stay afloat and competitive.

1: Seek a single vendor solution for digital transformation projects

During lockdown, one of the pain points that many businesses experienced about having to remote work at an incredibly short notice was that their IT infrastructures were not integrated enough. As we continue moving towards a virtual working environment with complex systems, deploying and maintaining digital transformation initiatives will become progressively harder for businesses. To simplify the process, businesses should seek solutions that can support wide-scale deployments from start to finish. It is advisable to find a vendor that can curate and implement a bespoke, best of breed IT strategy for you, then manage it from start to end. Post implementation support should be owned by the same vendor as well ensuring knowledge gained during transformation is not lost. A seamlessly unified solution will in turn add business value. Full stack solutions will increase digital transformation success and project ROI as there will be a single point of management, no knowledge loss, and a seamless integration between systems.

2: Review corporate security strategies and build cyber resilience

As the majority of the global workforce were made to work from home overnight due to COVID19, internet traffic and data sharing have increased exponentially overnight as well. The online environment has become a battleground for well protected businesses versus cyber criminals; as well as a minefield for vulnerable businesses trying to avoid attacks and hacks. AI is being deployed by online criminals to hack and phish data by learning to adapt in intelligent attempts to trick its way past business defences. During the last few months, we have observed an interesting rise in COVID19 related phishing activities where cyber criminals are taking advantage of people’s sense of uncertainty and fear. Phishing is a method of attempting to obtain personal information using deceptive emails and websites. Potential hacks are becoming alarmingly realistic and convincing as AI systems are becoming more sophisticated, more easily available and much simpler to deploy. Businesses have to become more vigilant and discerning and educate all users to be cyber savvy in order to prevent events where a business’s critical infrastructure becomes catastrophically compromised. Adopting company-wide standards for privacy and security should be become top priority for all businesses. Cyber resilience needs to become part of any workplace culture, and cyber security needs to be finetuned, maintained and updated with even higher frequency than before.

3: Reimagine the workplace

As we emerge from lockdown, businesses will need to rethink and reclassify roles by considering the value that remote working could deliver. For example, a business could choose for their workforce to remain fully remote, return onsite full time, or become hybrid remote where employees could choose to work from the office or from home. Managers should pay attention to the changing expectations of employees. Some people have thrived being fully remote workers with increased productivity, whilst others may have struggled with their mental health due to the lack of social interaction and the physical support of their colleagues. Employers should continue to focus on developing and retaining talent, and if a fully remote working solution is still being enforced indefinitely, should focus on bridging the gap between managers and employees by encouraging frequent online one to one sessions and/or mentoring programmes. Moving forward, technology will play a central role in enabling employees to return to a physical workspace safely, or to ensure employees’ mental health is taken care of in a permanent remote working environment. In order to preserve the corporate culture, the boundaries between being physically in the office and out of the office must collapse. In-office videoconferencing will need to be a safe space where people are able to effectively participate and interact akin to a physical setting. Always-on videoconferencing, seamless in-person and remote collaboration spaces (such as virtual whiteboards), and asynchronous collaboration and working models will need to, if not already, be quickly adopted to standard practice.

Digital transformation is no longer just about the technologies, it has to become about the users and the tools they are made to wield should be empowering and suited to their needs. Businesses will need to revise their digital strategies with empathy to ensure employees remain positive, fulfilled and motivated.

To find out more about remote working get in touch with Virtu at info@virtuconsulting.co.uk