The challenge
for CIOs

  • The unique set of challenges presented by a remote workforce requires all senior leaders of an organization—CIOs, CHROs, CISOs—to work together to resolve them.

    The CIO needs to be a proactive participant in leading and driving change, describing the competitive advantage and clearly demonstrating the link between the technology agenda and the employee value proposition.

    Opening up the possibility of remote working to more employees demonstrates that it can work (and in days rather than months), so it can be a part of the new operational plan. But that means throwing away the old plan.

  • Opening up the possibility of remote working to more employees demonstrates that it can work, but that means throwing away the old plan.

  • They may have been working toward a PC refresh, a global software deployment or a new software-defined wide area network. Are those still the right priorities for the business?

     Of course, it’s not that CIOs don’t plan for unprecedented events. It’s that most business continuity plans contemplate regional pandemics, and focus on how other regions of the globe can pick up the workplace slack. The global nature of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and has caught many CIOs unaware.

    Within this new wave, the CIO’s role in managing the table-stakes agenda from the previous three waves remains the same. From the broadest goal of on-the-ground operations (such as ensuring that technological systems and procedures are aligned with business goals) to planning ahead for the future (like understanding digital technologies and how to cost-effectively utilize them), the CIO still plays an integral role. But now an additional focus needs to be put on the forward-looking “next wave” of technical building, beyond the table-stakes priorities. And early preparation is key.

  • Man using mobile device

  • We’ll expand on the challenges CIOs and businesses are facing more in our next chapter, but the “new” considerations include:

    • Is remote-access infrastructure robust enough to handle most employees shifting to remote work?
    • Are core business applications cloud ready? Or are you relying on bulky solutions that are not user friendly as a workaround?
    • Can your collaboration solutions cope with a massive explosion in traffic volumes as users switch to virtual collaboration solutions (see figure below)?
    • Is your dispersed office environment secure

    Once you move the office perimeter to the user device, it’s vital to establish secure trust environments to safeguard customer, financial or personal data. We’ve already seen a massive uptick in cybercrime looking to exploit COVID-19.

    What’s clear is that CIOs need to seize the opportunity to plan for the future right now. They need to look at how to put in place a network architecture that will enable them to quickly adapt to the new, flexible remote-working world.

    This series of articles will outline the technical building blocks that all organizations should consider deploying post-virus, to future-ready their business success.

  • Once you move the office perimeter to the user device, it’s vital to establish secure trust environments.

  • Figure 2