The pandemic crisis is far from conclusive, and the “new normal” is still unclear to business leaders worldwide. Social distancing and telecommuting establish their own rules and create an additional burden on in-house IT departments. Therefore, chief information officers are now forced to focus on emergency measures and stabilize critical business operations. Moreover, economic implications demand CIOs think ahead and strategize further actions for businesses to stay afloat.

To cope with these challenges, the majority of organizations have to cut operating expenses, all while increasing their digital capabilities. And here many CIOs face a dilemma: how to stay financially resilient and at the same time keep all essential operations running? To prevent mass layoffs or business closure, industry leaders start looking to outsourcing IT solutions. In most cases, partnership with external IT providers isn’t considered a complete alternative to in-house tech departments. Nearshore or offshore teams bring the necessary skills and expertise in crisis management, application development, and system modernization, thus enabling businesses to overcome existing challenges and even outperform competitors in the long run.

To make this cooperation efficient and effective, CIOs need to follow simple rules starting with business stabilization and then future-proofing to prepare for various emergencies in the years ahead. Does it sound too complicated? We’ve created straightforward guidelines to help your company emerge stronger from the pandemic, so let’s begin.

Reallocate resources to critical processes

Amid the pandemic crisis, business executives need to prioritize their systems and processes. Your company’s focuses that were important before may be worthless now. Discuss with your external IT provider what technology solutions are vital for your customers and business stabilization right now. Whether it’s supply chain analytics, order management, employee payroll, or customer support, reallocate your tech resources from minor priority processes to critical ones.

Stabilize essential systems and operations

Let’s say CIO has identified the most critical systems required to run the business and put all resources there. But how to determine what exactly goes wrong and how to fix it quickly? For example, CIOs can test how the company will cope with different scenarios of capacity needs and thus upgrade the servers to handle high traffic loads successfully. 

For customer support, IT directors and external IT outsourcing partners should implement self-service tools or Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology. If you face the growing number of support tickets, expand the help desk team. Additionally, CIOs may create real-time crisis-monitoring dashboards across external processes to track capacity, risk areas, service levels, and other metrics. Finally, collaborate with managers in other departments to unleash internal system needs and address them immediately.

Focus on security measures

As we know from our experience, weak security measures, and social engineering (mainly phishing and scareware) are the leading risk factors companies face while teleworking. In response to potential threats and cybercrimes, we advise CIOs to take the following actions:

  • Establish offshore security protocols to ensure that your provider protects all the data correctly; 
  • Implement multi-factor authentication to avoid sensitive data leakage;
  • Create a security plan to test the response measures to possible vulnerabilities;
  • Develop security team communication channels to report threats immediately.

Proceed with business future-proofing to stay afloat

Develop a risk mitigation strategy

When all critical systems have been stabilized, prepare for the next steps with your outsourcing partners. Notably, develop a risk mitigation strategy to handle possible threats and reduce their impact on the company’s objectives. If you hesitate where to start, follow our 4-step plan to successful risk mitigation:

  • Start with identifying risk events and their relationships;
  • Assess the possible consequences these risks may have;
  • Analyze and prioritize the threats from the most to least critical;
  • Finally, implement a risk mitigation strategy and monitor its progress. 

Work on financial resilience

The COVID-19 disaster led to revenue plummets and increased IT costs put pressure on companies globally. Consequently, to weather the crisis, businesses need to become financially resilient. To achieve this, CIOs should propose their external IT providers to set up financial agreements suitable for each party. For instance, start with defining and cutting discretionary spendings from your contract. More important, consider reducing the organization’s long-term expenses, capital expenditures (CAPEX), and focus on day-to-day costs, operational expenditures (OPEX) that keep your business running. Ultimately, avoid impulsive IT cost-cutting as it may provoke overspending issues later. 

Revise your operating model

For the sake of the company’s revival, CIOs and their IT outsourcing partners should focus on reshaping business models. This includes rethinking your IT strategy, changing the operating model, and revising investments to preserve the existing customer base. It’s observed that consumer behavior and expectations shift to online interactions. Hence, to address these demands, businesses need to pivot to the digital model. Consider transforming your baseline processes into digital. Deploy human+machine workforce across the organization, apply data-driven decision-making, automate routine tasks, and upskill your employees.

Summing up

We’re closing by saying that the coronavirus crisis puts much pressure on CIOs today. Aside from reacting to rapidly changing working conditions, CIOs need to be as sharp as a needle to handle the pandemic consequences and prepare for the unknowns in the future.  

Relying solely on your internal workforce isn’t enough to navigate the crisis. Whether it’s due to the lack of technical expertise or crisis management skills, consider outsourcing a professional team to cover these gaps. Leveraging external IT services can help CIOs stabilize core processes and even push the business forward in the long run. Develop an effective collaboration strategy with your provider counting on our advice above, and your business will definitely thrive when the recovery time comes.