IT strategy review for a post-COVID world
The challenge for CTOs and IT managers as we return to the “norm” is – what will the post-COVID landscape look like? We’re operating in unknown territory, but what we do know is that change can happen quickly and we have to be able to adapt to survive.
Almost all businesses will have seen some impact from COVID19. The extent to which different organisations have been affected has varied hugely, and so there is no “one size fits all” approach. But most of us will be undergoing some sort of review process right now and considering how this emerging new landscape might impact on our plans for the future.
One thing is certain – the future for IT infrastructure and strategy is primarily agile and operating in the cloud. Let’s look at some key areas to consider as part of an overall IT review.
1. Cloud Now
One of the big changes that we have seen is an immediate shift from “Cloud First” to “Cloud Now”. The trend towards moving more business operations to the cloud was already happening. In 2019, for the first time, enterprises began spending more money annually on cloud infrastructure services than on data centre hardware and software. The “Cloud First” mantra was becoming commonplace for new IT projects and investments.
But the immediate need for remote working brought on by lockdown has turbo-charged this process. The cloud has quickly become the foundation for widespread digital transformation.
The pandemic has forced organisations to quickly adapt to remote working and the additional security challenges that arise from having less control over the infrastructure and hardware being used by staff when working from home.
Last month, we covered post-COVID business security and the three key areas that are critical to protecting your data and operations. Read more on this here.
3. Business continuity strategy
This year’s challenges have likely highlighted areas of your business continuity plan that need updating – or at the very least the importance of having one!
If you’re reviewing your business continuity plan now, we have published some information on what it should cover in this helpful two-part guide:
- Five things to cover in your business continuity plan
- Five more things to cover in your business continuity plan
4. Disaster recovery and backup strategy
Back in 2016 we took a humorous look at disaster recovery. Hopefully, you have a disaster recovery plan in place – and that it has performed well for you when needed.
If you haven’t, you’re not alone. When we undertook research a couple of years ago, we found that a third of businesses in our region didn’t have a disaster recovery plan in place at all, and over half weren’t doing regular DR testing.
Among businesses that don’t have a DR plan are those that think it will be too time consuming or expensive. But if you don’t have the resource internally, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is relatively cheap (compared to the risks it mitigates). It is also pretty straightforward to outsource and can protect against file corruption, natural disasters, data deletion, or full server failures.
5. Understanding needs and matching solutions
In the rush to cloud-based working, companies still need to undertake all the usual due diligence. Now the panic period for home working is over, it’s time to take stock of the new landscape, review any IT decisions made in haste, and look at your overall IT strategy to optimise it for the future.
Understanding your business needs in relation to the overall cloud marketplace will be key to making good investment decisions: mapping out the different requirements of each workflow, understanding and matching them to a new cloud provider’s overall capabilities, and undertaking thorough due diligence upfront for all new contracts.
Cloud consultancy is an area we specialise in, and we’re always happy to talk through your IT infrastructure needs and give advice on where you should focus your resources for maximum impact. No strings, just decent honest advice from tech geeks who live for these kinds of challenges!
6. Digital transformation
I want to come back full circle back now to our original point about the post-COVID landscape and the drive towards ‘cloud now’. The pandemic has thrust IT departments into the limelight. Like us, you’ve probably never been so busy or so challenged – often working remotely yourself to deliver a whole new IT infrastructure for your organisation.
With senior executives all around the world now fully on board with digital transformation, it can be easy for this renewed enthusiasm for all things digital to get lost in the fog of complexity over priorities and endless choice.
As IT leaders, it’s our job to cut through the noise and deliver real value over flashy new toys. I am reminded of a Forbes article I read recently highlighting digital transformation as simply a means by which we solve traditional problems with technology – whether that be designing products around customers (rather than the other way round), making a supply chain more efficient or integrating data systems to streamline or improve the customer experience.
Let’s not forget why 70% of digital transformation projects fail – clue: it’s not about the technology!
If you’d like to discuss any of the topics raised in this blog, you can contact us online or call our team on +44 (0)3453 888 327.