The workforce has dramatically changed in the past few months.  The U.S. Department of Labor stated that the unemployment rate rose to record highs of 14.7% in April. Social distancing has also forced employees to transition to working from home.  IT hiring has fallen, and employers have had to cut 112,000 IT jobs in April alone, despite organizations needing to invest in remote working tools.  

With all these changes, organizations are having to redefine IT spending priorities and assess existing goals, processes and strategies. 

What are Companies Focused on Now?

Stricter budgets are urging companies to analyze what components and roles are critical to the business.  This process of reassessment has put projects like AI, automation and more on hold.  Instead, companies are focusing on business continuity and hiring only essential workers.  More attention is being directed towards maintaining vital functions by focusing on:

  • Critical business roles like compliance and security, engineering and business systems teams
  • Cutting down on non-essential costs
  • Crisis management and response

What are IT Spending Priorities?

With organizations focusing on critical teams and processes, IT spending priorities are changing accordingly.  This is an important time to take a step back and assess which projects and avenues are not just critical to the department, but to the organization as a whole.  Not all the changes you are looking to make can be done at once, so prioritization and collaboration is monumental during this process.  Having CIO’s meet with different teams to determine the most important tasks can help plan out where to allocate your IT budget. Overall, companies should invest in three critical areas during this pandemic: security, cloud capabilities and integration.

Tightening Security During COVID-19

As your teams are transitioning to working remote, take time to consider the new security challenges that your organization will face.  Accounting for security issues from personal devices, collaboration tools, and accessibility will help decrease the chance of a security breach.  Maintaining your enterprise class security as well as the security of your customers is of utmost importance.

Streamlining for Success 

Before the pandemic, your company may have invested in tools and platforms that served in-office needs.  You may start to see stress points in your systems in the work-from-home environment.  Seamless integration and process automation can enable your workforce to work more efficiently and avoid bottlenecks. 

Keeping it on the Cloud

The overall cloud spending is growing in light of IT budget cuts. Especially with the workforce converting to a work from home environment, companies are honing in on cloud adoption, migration and penetration.  Investing in cloud capabilities allows for more flexibility in your business and can accommodate the workforce in a post-COVID environment.

How Business Technology Can Drive Change in Your Company

Business Technology (BT) is extensive technology that impacts business results and focuses on the relationship and the processes between databases and cloud applications.  Alignment is key to BT. Business Technology leaders offer an aggregated view of your organization and its different departments and can align IT goals with business goals. 

 A study indicates that “94 percent of Business Technology (BT) respondents agree or strongly agree that Business Technology Teams are key changemakers and drivers of an organization’s productivity and innovation”.  BT teams can help drive processes across the lines of business that impact the bottom-line.  For example:

Marketing/Sales

  • BT can help address soft pipelines with automations that allow your Sales teams respond to leads faster 
  • Workflows can help prioritize inbound leads and route them to the correct reps
  • Automations can enable your Marketing team to utilize  buyer intent data more effectively
  • BT teams can implement automated notifications that display buyer intent data and automation platforms to increase data visibility and seamless data transfers

 Support

  • It can cost up to 5x more to attract a new customer instead of upselling a current customer
  • BT team can help implement systems to  prevent churn and  increase upsells
  • Automation is a high priority  across departments, yet only around ⅓  are satisfied with their current integrations and automations 

Human Resources

  • Processes to accommodate special contracts for employees and working remotely
  • Business Technology respondents cite “hire to retire” procedures for employee on-boarding and off-boarding as the most desired automations (37%).
  • Lines of Business respondents cite it as the second most desired (26%)

Finance

  • Especially with stricter budgets and cash flow, you need to recognize revenue faster
  • 82 percent of Business Technology Leaders report being backlogged with their Finance projects is the most problematic area at  71 percent, followed by Sales and HR.
  • BT teams can help set up automations to handle issues of mismanaged data, complex approvals, and short term problems while also increasing business productivity and data visibility and reducing your IT spending

The current pandemic has highlighted that Enterprise IT may not be completely bulletproof, as seen with the decrease in IT hiring.  Thus, the need for a solid Business Technology team in your org is more apparent than ever before. Shifting your focus and aligning your BT teams and LOB’s can help your organization breed innovation and success.  Strategically using your restricted IT budget to focus on security, integrated systems and automation enables your business to carry out not just normal duties, but can allow your business to recover and regrow.

If you’re looking for new opportunities, visit our job board. Join our community of BT leaders to navigate through this time together >>

Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.