It’s something we are all hoping won’t come to pass, but organisations cannot ignore the threat of a second round of COVID-19 restrictions this winter. Already, several UK towns and cities have been placed into local lockdown, and even if we avoid another national quarantine experts have warned that this is unlikely to be our final global pandemic.
But, it’s not all doom and gloom. Recovery is strong in the technology sector, and the UK’s job market is showing signs of returning to normal. Throughout the pandemic, tech has helped to stop the spread of the virus and communicate accurate information. Now it is time for IT teams to ensure they are ready for what might happen.
Do build resilience
While for many the pandemic meant they were unable to work, the same could not be said for IT teams. During times of disruption, IT professionals are likely to experience increased demands and pressures. A future lockdown may result in IT having to work longer hours or travel to different locations, while employees from other departments remain sheltered.
IT leaders must create a culture which enables workers to navigate this without damaging departmental relations or causing burnout. Whatever form the next crisis comes in, IT departments will be pivotal in keeping the enterprise alive. Leaders must ensure they are ready for future disruption, and that management recognises the IT team’s importance and value. Agility, flexibility, decisiveness and planning are all important skills which will help build resilience.
Don’t repeat past mistakes
At the beginning of the pandemic, there were a lot of things that IT teams needed to prepare for unexpectedly. While solutions were considered at the time, not all of them were deployed and IT departments are being pulled to more immediate concerns – forgetting to implement new systems and processes that would help the enterprise to keep going in the event of a second lockdown.
For example, insufficient VPN capacity or bandwidth may have slowed down operations in the early days of the pandemic, leading IT teams to plan on installing additional VPN endpoints as soon as possible. It’s important to follow through with all of these actions so that the organisation is prepared for the future.
Do evaluate your available resources
The pandemic and subsequent lockdown came with little prior notice, so many newly remote employees were forced to work from home using inferior hardware and software platforms, while expensive IT resources languished unused in the office.
IT teams should ensure a plan is in place so that all employees will experience minimal interruption to their workflows in the event of another lockdown. This includes not just having access to the correct resources, but also being empowered to use them confidently. If employees don’t know how to work remotely, it will only lead to more pressure on IT departments and helpdesks.
Don’t delay digital transformation
Pre-pandemic, digital transformation projects were often viewed as a ‘nice-to-have’ by organisations rather than as top priorities. However, the lockdown showed just how vital these initiatives were, and now that businesses are on more steady ground, there are some digital transformation projects they should undertake immediately.
Now is the time to accelerate the move away from legacy systems. IT teams should consider the resources, systems and processes that they wished they had had when the first national lockdown was announced and seek to create that environment. Equally, organisations must understand the importance of the IT department in supporting the enterprise and help them to achieve the goals which will support the wider business.