As organisations usher into the new decade, executives are now getting optimistic about business prospects; automation is promising to propel operational efficiencies, and C-level management continues to invest in digital transformation strategies.
Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and the realities of the “new normal” took hold. Plans to transition business infrastructures to the cloud — initially slated for months or even years down the road — accelerated rapidly. Senior executives had to quickly meet the challenge of implementing strategies that didn't just address immediate needs but also positioned their organizations well for the long term.
Indeed, the pandemic was the catalyst for the C-suite to take decisive action. Organizations swiftly migrated business-critical assets and applications to the cloud, and as a result, many now feel well-positioned to return to growth. However, this digital transformation journey is far from over. Instead, executives must now shift their focus to filling network security gaps overlooked in the initial rush to cloud migration.
Think Fast, Act with Purpose
Senior executives made quick decisions that will have long-term implications. Roughly 50% of the respondents noted that the changes made regarding headcount, processes/applications, real estate assets and budgets are permanent.
Immediate Business Impact
In their 2019 business plans, more than 65% of the survey respondents indicated that they planned for increased growth in 2019. Thirty-five per cent of the respondents noted a positive impact on headcount. It's possible that downsizing at some companies enabled them to fill strategic positions with qualified candidates who would not have been in the job market prior to the pandemic.
Focusing on Efficiencies
C-suite executives quickly identified operational efficiencies to control costs and continue to support customers, suppliers and employees, including:
- Optimizing CAPEX/OPEX
- Reducing the workforce
- Cutting back on real estate assets
- Shifting to a remote workforce
- Building robust digital infrastructures
- Transitioning IT infrastructure to the cloud
- Adopting artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and automation technologies to reduce manual processes/errors
- Deploying differentiated security solutions
More than half of all respondents anticipated increased growth in 2021–2022 based on changes that they are implementing now.
Ensuring Business Resiliency — What has the pandemic taught us about future-proofing businesses?
COVID-19 pandemic put disaster recovery plans to the test. It globally affected nearly every aspect of an organization in a concentrated amount of time. Organizations that had strong disaster preparedness plans and an agile IT infrastructure in place fared better than those that did not. To better position their companies against continuing disruptions, C-suite executives have sharpened their focus on strategies that build resiliency.
- Acceleration of plans to migrate network assets to the cloud
- Adoption of machine learning, AI and automation to improve resiliency and business efficiency.
- Transition to a largely remote workforce
- Reduction in the amount of real estate and other assets related to operating expenses
- The capture of market share by adapting to the demands of a contactless economy
- Staffing of hard-to-fill strategic positions from a wider and geographically diverse candidate pool
C-suite executives understand that leveraging new technologies can help their companies respond more agilely as market forces change. The hope is that the need for speed in transitioning to cloud-based networks will produce long-term benefits in faster time to market for revenue-generating services and applications, improved customer experiences and more robust support for critical business operations.
Planning for Disruptions
The swift impact on business operations caused by the pandemic drew the C-suite's attention to hidden vulnerabilities. Survey responses revealed that executives have moved quickly to build resiliencies into their organizations with an eye toward long-term results.
Key measures are focused on:
- Increasing market share
- Seeking new revenue streams
- Advancing network infrastructure to better support remote operations
- Improving the customer experience
Moving to the Cloud
Organizations look to cloud service providers for network infrastructures that enable more agile responses to customer needs and deliver high availability and network performance while reducing operational costs.
The author is Vice President & Managing Director – India, SAARC, Middle East & GSI at Radware. Views are personal.