By Aaron Shaver, Ph.D., CISSP, Trace3 Field CTO
Not all industries have been uniformly impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. This disproportionate impact is due to consumer demand and workforce disruption. Distinct trends emerge, which have a direct impact on IT budgets, and necessitate specific strategic responses from IT leadership.
Through conducting many customer interviews, it has become clear—success is based on a combination of market forces and corporate strategy. Corporations with low demand facing high impact from workforce disruption are being decimated regardless of strategy. Others, with high demand and low impact from workforce disruption see growth. A third and fourth set of industries are able to capture market share if they are well positioned with a strong IT response, and strategic partnerships that enable a rapid pivot to an advanced digital strategy.
These digital strategies include: (1), reduce reliance on labor to produce or distribute products through automation (Industry 4.0); (2) digitization of sales and operational eco-systems (digital transformation); (3), decentralize essential staff (digital working) and; (4), scale IT costs up or down with demand (Cloud and Rationalization).
Four Impact Groups Emerge:
- Demand plummets and workforce disruption impacts are severe: extreme cost cutting measures that can be reverted when demand recovers.
- Demand remains but workforce disruption is a huge impact: rapidly pivot to remote working, digital marketplaces and automation.
- Demand drops but limited workforce disruption allows business to continue: tighten cost controls and app rationalization. Invest in strategic priorities that bolster demand and differentiate the corporation.
- Demand is high, workforce disruption is a limited factor: Responsive short-term scale-out with the ability to adjust long-term.
IT leaders should ignore reports from outside their industry and implement an advanced digital strategy tied to their associated impact group. The velocity of digital adoption will differentiate successful organizations, increase market share and lower the impact of workforce disruption.