Resilience is the ability of a system or organization to respond to or recover readily from a crisis or disruptive process. After enduring nearly 3 years of a global pandemic, experiencing an unprecedented shift in work norms, and dealing with complex supply chain issues, our resilience has certainly been tested.
However, the latest disruption that is challenging organizations today, is the economy. Unprecedented layoffs have been announced in 2023 including technology giants like Meta, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and Wayfair. Pressures continue to rise for organizations as they face higher interest rates and costs, a lack of available talent, lagging digital transformation, new demands from consumers and talks of a recession. Whether companies lose momentum or adapt and advance comes down to one thing: business resilience.
Business resilience is the capacity to absorb stress, recover critical functionality and thrive in altered circumstances, while maintaining key business workflows and safeguarding employees, assets and reputation. Business resilience can make the difference between business survival and failure. Companies that are resilient know how to operate on both the offensive and defensive front. Leaders who are resilient recognize that costs must be cut in some areas while growth spending is essential in others. Achieving resilience requires careful business planning to ensure that business models are flexible enough to adapt to market changes and other disruptions like natural disasters, cybercrime, technology failure, and supply chain failures.
Resiliency is a top priority this year and organizations need to be focused and strategic as they face the current challenges. CIOs are a critical part of these strategies since technology has become a major factor in business resilience. To remain resilient in 2023, businesses should focus on the following key strategies.
Managing Costs and Spend
Tightening the belt is the old expression used when it comes to reducing costs. The new expression taking hold in 2023 and being commonly proclaimed in organizations is “doing more with less.” Organizations are facing the need to get more done within a budget that may not allow all the business goals to be achieved and with less people to achieve them. Now more than ever companies need to look at where they can regulate their spending. Companies are adjusting their prices to manage costs, adapting and changing their operating expenses, while still others are laying off parts of their workforce. Leveraging technologies that will allow organizations to move faster and run more efficiently will be key to remaining resilient.
Securing and Retaining Talent
Concerns about labor shortages and talent retention continue to be a problem for organizations. Critical IT skills are in short supply and the current labor shortage is intensifying the need for such professionals. A shortage of skilled workers poses a risk to resilience because if an organization does not have people with the right skills to produce their product or service, the business cannot function and will fail. A recent survey showed that nearly 90% of c-suite executives said they don’t have adequate digital skills.
Companies are taking several approaches to strengthen their workforce. Many are trying to motivate workers with more meaningful assignments and better opportunities for career advancement. Others are streamlining their hiring process to attract more applicants while some companies are offering training to their workforce on the skills they are lacking. Shanthi Lyer, CIO at cloud-based document management services provider DocuSign Inc., says that her focus is on talent retention, including efforts to train existing employees while hiring workers with skills in areas that can help drive the company’s use of emerging digital tools.
Accelerating Key Digital and Technology Initiatives
Trends towards digital transformation and increasing reliance of organizations on IT for critical business functions and data means that for most organizations, IT resilience has a direct correlation to business resilience. Strategic digital investments are key for businesses to remain resilient and IT leaders are focusing on implementing value-oriented IT initiatives. Key areas of focus for CIOs include:
- Digital Transformation (DT)
- While the current economic climate may have some companies rethinking their expenditures, including digital technologies, they must make intelligent investments to remain competitive and position themselves for growth when the economy improves. Developing a future vision of customers and employees will be critical to investing in the right digital technologies.
- DT can stimulate new business models, services, and revenue streams that can help companies boost their bottom line. It can improve business efficiency and provide better customer service. DT also contributes to improving the customer experience, which is critical to increasing customer loyalty.
- Data Metrics and Measuring
- Aligning digital metrics to key business initiatives helps illustrate progress and success in digital strategy. Companies need to look at market trends and data driven forecasts to help build resilience across the organization. Using all of this intelligence and moving it into action will help strengthen an organization’s competitive advantage.
- Advanced analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) continue to be trending in 2023. However, data integrity is at the forefront of people’s minds as only 27% of data practitioners fully trust the data they are working with on a routine basis. Most executives are aware of this trust gap, yet organizations want to move towards data-driven business decisions. There is a focus on improving data integrity and trust through transparency and enrichment to ensure more predictable, accurate data delivery. This will be essential in order for AI and ML to succeed.
- Investing in AI
- In recent years, there have been a number of technological advances that have revolutionized the way businesses operate including machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and automation. Businesses are exploring the benefits of AI in helping their processes become more efficient and effective.
- Generative AI is a hot button topic as the popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT has exploded. A recent survey of more than 500 senior IT leaders found that a majority believe generative AI is a “game changer,” with 84% saying it will help them better serve their customers. Companies are looking more closely at generative AI and how it can impact their business.
- In March 2023, Salesforce announced that OpenAI was its official launch partner, promising to deliver a more personalized experience to customers that are intelligent, automated, and real time while driving efficiency, productivity and time to value. Microsoft also unveiled Dynamics 365 Copilot and Pegasystems added generative AI backed tools in its Pega Infinity platform.
- Bolstering Cybersecurity
- Malware, ransomware and phishing attacks continue to cause havoc for businesses. As organizations become more digital, the likelihood of a cyber-attack will increase. For digital businesses, cyber-attacks are a major risk because failure to recover quickly could cause total business failure. To remain resilient, it will be paramount for businesses to invest in a robust cybersecurity platform and actively seek out cyberthreats. Companies will also need to continue to train their employees on cyber threats and how to identify them.
- As recently as last week, Massachusetts’ second-largest health insurer, Point32Health, suffered large technical outages due to a cybersecurity ransomware attack. Kevin Powers, cybersecurity professor at Boston College, said “Cybercriminals only have to be right once. Yet protecting from such threats is complicated and sometimes cybercriminals have a wealth of resources at their disposal.” Organizations must ensure that efforts to secure IT operations are closely aligned with efforts to maintain and restore IT operations in the event of a cyber-attack.
We are living in uncertain times. The world is changing quickly, and it has become extremely difficult to plan for the future of business. To stay resilient, companies need to be flexible, agile, and thoughtful in their strategies going forward. Business resilience is directly linked to the survival of a business and therefore should be integrated with a company’s long-term sustainability strategies.
Technology is and will remain a key player in business resiliency. Notch Above Consulting has successfully delivered complex, multi-year digital and operational transformation initiatives. We have the skills to lead your digital imperatives and application rollouts. Let us help you remain resilient by assisting you in meeting your digital needs and achieving your digital goals.