Sep 04 2020

How to Set Tech Priorities During Times of Uncertainty

Businesses have overcome the initial challenges of all-remote work, but now must train their eyes on what comes next.

We’re now six months into one of the strangest episodes in the history of ­modern business. And while much remains uncertain, it seems safe to say that most organizations have entered a new phase: past the initial, frenetic days of switching overnight to all-remote work environments and into something more settled. Indeed, as we grow accustomed to our new circumstances, they start to feel almost familiar.

But for IT leaders, what’s very ­unfamiliar is the profound sense of uncertainty about the future. This in-between place where so many ­organizations now find themselves — beyond the crisis but not sure what will happen tomorrow — is an uncomfortable place to be.

And it raises a critical question for technology leaders: When you don’t know what’s coming next, how do you know what to do? In an environment as uncertain as this one, how do IT leaders set priorities?

WATCH: Learn how to move ahead in the new workforce dynamic.

Gathering Information on the New Normal

They do it by keeping their eyes and ears open, maintaining communication with their coworkers and line-of-business leadership, so they can understand how the business is changing, how its customers’ buying habits are evolving and how employees are getting things done. After all, their priorities need to be the tech department’s priorities. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed.

You get a sense of how this approach is taking shape in our round-table, in which tech leaders from four disparate industries describe how they’re deploying technology to provide long-term support for their businesses, all of which will be different in important ways long after the pandemic is over.

At the same time, businesses are learning as they’re going and adjusting as needed. Nowhere is this more in evidence than in the world of professional sports, where leagues are using tech to manage critical operations and deliver unique fan experiences as they strive to get safely back into action.

Just like pro sports, most industries know that simply going back to the way things were is not an option. Instead, leaders are figuring out what works in the current environment, and as they do, they’ll learn some lessons to apply in the next one.

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