May 16 2023

How Should IT Leaders Prioritize Digital Projects When Economic Signs Are Ominous?

Start with the things that will help the company make more money.

Managing turbulence is always part of the job for an IT leader, now more than ever. Indeed, you might be wondering if you’ve been operating from the lead car of a roller coaster for the past three years.

The bad news is that the ride’s not over — not even close. The good news is that technology, which has been a hero to so many companies during these wild times, providing ballast, stability and a way forward, can help you through what’s coming next.

First, it’s worth recalling how we got where we are today.

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How Tech Has Helped Companies Clear Every Hurdle

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic sent shockwaves through the business world, as organizations pivoted hard toward solutions that would simply keep them going. That often meant quickly standing up digital work environments that supported a secure, seamless remote experience for everyone; reinforcing ecommerce platforms with improved infrastructure; and reinventing customer experiences with ideas like curbside pickup.

As pandemic restrictions lifted, demand returned, and businesses geared up to meet it. In many cases, that meant pivoting again toward other parts of the business. For example, travel industry companies that had focused on improving customers’ digital experiences during their lean months suddenly shifted to boosting IT and human infrastructure when people began to book trips again. Retailers quickly renewed their focus on the in-store shopping experience.

At the same, however, supply chain headaches began, disrupting companies’ digital transformations with long waits for many types of tech solutions, causing problems with construction and delivery of their own products.

Organizations that endured these difficulties best were those that had given themselves options — those with flexible, hybrid IT architectures that allowed for upgrades to be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, and those with supplier partnerships that could deliver solutions from a wide range of equipment manufacturers and tech solutions providers.

READ MORE: Why the right hybrid cloud approach can benefit small businesses.

Businesses Are Increasingly Cost-Conscious

All this has taken place against a backdrop of stubbornly high prices. That’s forced many companies to make hard decisions about staffing, pricing and cost cutting. Finally, even as all of these challenges continue apace, another has emerged: the specter of a potential economic slowdown that has many companies nervous.

Many IT leaders are trying to find the best way forward with digital transformation during a time of such uncertainty.

Inaction is not an option. Any organization that tries to hide under the bed while it waits for the clouds to lift will be bested by innovative competitors.”

That’s understandable. But here’s the thing: Inaction is not an option. Any organization that tries to hide under the bed while it waits for the clouds to lift will be bested by innovative competitors.

What’s vital, instead, is to ensure that no daylight exists between IT priorities and business priorities, and that business priorities are squarely focused on what matters most, namely projects designed to boost revenue and efficiency.

EXPLORE: How to build an agile digital experience.

Pursue IT Projects That Drive Revenue

For example, a business that would benefit from more IT staffing to free up current employees to focus on a pressing project may find that a service like IT staff augmentation can fill gaps in a price-flexible way. Those concerned about whether their cloud environment can support a new e-commerce strategy might benefit from a cloud assessment.

You do that by maintaining frequent communication with senior and line-of-business leadership so they can understand how your business is changing, how your customers’ buying habits are evolving and how the business is likely to make money going forward.

The happy reality is that the technology exists right now to help you achieve these ends. During uncertain times, however, it’s vital that everyone, especially IT leadership, keeps their eyes focused on the bottom line.

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