Remaining alert to the costs and overall impact of technology investments in difficult economic times is of great importance for any organization. In periods of financial downturn, much like the marked fiscal impact faced by many businesses amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, budgetary adjustment and recalibration are essential for any organization to sustain itself. With trends in recent years highlighting the ever-growing investment in technology across the board, the questions concerning sustained progress for organizations now forced to reassess project and operational investments are more relevant than ever before.
Here is a quick list of potential ways business leaders can continue to invest in technology, ensuring results for the organization while operating within the new normal of changing budgetary concerns.
Prioritize the Essential
Fundamental shifts in the economic landscape for any organization can be both unpredictable and far-reaching. As in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic currently impacting markets across the world, these major events can significantly impact the list of priorities embraced by any business leader. Adjusting, pivoting and recognizing the need for flexibility are essential in such cases.
In times of challenging financial conditions, strategizing in terms of the bigger picture rather than focusing solely on small-scale initiatives will have the greatest impact moving forward. Triaging in a quick and agile way, focusing on the immediate needs and potential solutions to a given economic shift, ensures a seamless, real-time response that will not go unnoticed.
Engaging stakeholders and key business personnel in the decision-making process early on is key. Allowing for collaborative communication, where all parties can challenge assumptions, share potential benefits, understand inherent risks and prioritize a response to economic challenges will allow for a clear and cohesive path forward. Resources as well as overall business infrastructure may require significant alterations to meet the demands of major change – as COVID-19 has highlighted in numerous industries with shifts from in-store purchasing to online, home delivery or curbside pickup models.
While business needs and pipelines may change with these shifting times, odds are that demands for new and improved technology investments likely coincide with minimized budgets. Prioritization here is a must, as organizations need to rationalize where budget cuts should be made. Although typically anywhere from 15-35 percent of operating costs can be mitigated or eliminated without impacting key business outcomes, these directives require clear data and logistically minded action plans to be successful. Prioritizing cutting systems that are redundant, outdated or no longer essential can open new revenue streams for essential priorities.
Identify Patterns and Automate Processes
One of the many assets of the modern business landscape for many organizations is the vast amount of data currently available in countless areas of business operations. This information allows for the timely identification of patterns as well as the associated insights that directly improve business outcomes. Business data analytics are essential for leaders to help them understand the ins-and-outs of daily operations, anticipate trends and manage foreseeable risk in the process. Utilizing this data can prove critical to an organization’s ability to both survive and thrive amid trying economic situations. With the broad impact of COVID-19 on businesses across industries, automation and integration prove invaluable tools in connecting customers with the goods and services they seek. From eliminating inefficiencies, reducing costs and ineffective processes, to creating remote and virtual workforces, organizations that adapt and change in lockstep with market trends have markedly greater strategic advantage.
AI-enabled cloud applications, for example, incorporate technological investments in real-world ways. By providing accessibility to a wide array of users, ensuring more secure networks, improving customer experience and creating a better quality customer service, these assets improve the overall functionality of an organization at the process-level – eliminating budget stress and unnecessary spending in the process.
Strategize the Approach to Technology Investment
As COVID-19 has illustrated, an ever-distanced world does not mean a stop to business interactions. Critical applications remain essential as ever, while new technological components emerge as newfound necessities. A remote access infrastructure, for example, becomes crucial to effective business operations – where an increase in need by ten-fold or more now requires a critical prioritization of a system that before may have been elective or less than a necessity. Where remote access is now fundamentally a key enabler of productivity for many organizations, this may not have been the case months or even weeks ago. As a result of strategic critical applications, negative impacts to workforce productivity by external or internal shifts can be mitigated.
Technological investments should be prioritized in the current digital landscape, but guaranteeing your organization is set up to receive the most out of these investments is an absolute must. By being strategic in the overall approach taken, business leaders can ensure they are enabling a stronger and adaptable business that will endure through any challenging circumstance that may arise.