It’s time for the CIO to take their opportunity – with IT to secure business continuity

Ian Pitt is the CIO of LogMeIn.

The last few months have brought in some drastic changes to the way we work and live. One thing that it has highlighted is the extreme value that IT brings to all organisations.

It’s clear to people at all levels of organisations that we’re not just about providing laptops and printers and keeping them running – suddenly we’ve become part of the business continuity team. We’re delivering consistency of service despite what’s happening around the world, and we’re taking companies in a new direction to keep them alive.

The spotlight is extremely bright right now. This is the year of the CIO.

CIOs should be using this spotlight to move even faster and become more efficient. Now is not the time to say, “No, we can’t do that.” Ultimately, we should be able to reflect on the actions we took during this trying time and say, “Hey, remember that time we saved the company?” That will mean different things in different organisations.

Success driving priorities faster

When we were asked to support getting a remote workforce up and running, every organisation had existing projects at different stages. At LogMeIn, we’re using this new spotlight to accelerate our ongoing priorities. The first is infrastructure. We are a software as a service-heavy organisation, so only a few of our business applications are hidden behind the VPN. In recent years, we’ve been able to reduce our reliance on VPN such that only about 10 percent of our applications still require VPN access.

While the initial move to remote working was out of necessity, it has triggered a global trend towards working from anywhere, bringing into question the need for big offices that we travel to every day. In preparation for this new normal, we have an added urgency to make it easier for all employees to access our applications remotely. We know that the faster we can eliminate VPN requirements, while maintaining security of course, the easier it will be to truly work from anywhere. Ultimately, our employees will no longer need to worry about whether they’re plugged into the network to get work done. Not only will this help us with improving the flexible working experience for our employees, longer term it will also help us with mergers and acquisitions, setting up new offices, and more.

The second priority is applications. In the past few months, we’ve seen a spike in company purchases of our technology. Our traffic increased approximately 300 percent, with some customers buying products across our entire portfolio. We’re learning a lot from that spike in purchases, and it’s now a priority to make the customer acquisition process easier.

As we continue to work through the various stages of opening offices and negotiating what the new normal looks like, these priorities will continue to evolve quickly, so IT teams and their leaders need to be agile. This is even easier when you have a seat at the table.

Being part of the conversation to lead

When the pandemic hit, organisations around the globe dusted off their business continuity plans and found themselves in differing levels of suitability. Some had pushed them to the back burner until suddenly it was a priority. Regardless, this has been an important lesson in mobilising quickly. We’ve all had to make some decisions on the fly because we hadn’t played through all of the situations in our pandemic plan.

Some of our vendors and service providers are learning similar lessons. Most organisations have industry certifications that they need to maintain that require physical audits. That’s difficult to do when everyone is home. We’ll have to work with our auditors and figure out how to interact with them in the future so if this happens again, there’s zero confusion and risk.

This pandemic is presenting CIOs with a broad scope of opportunity. Make sure you’re brought into decision making early, and not as an afterthought. If there’s one thing we’ve learned through the early stages of this, it’s that involving IT early leads to a very different outcome for the company.

This is an important time for CIOs. If you didn’t already have a seat at the table, claim one now. If you had a seat at the table, use these circumstances to increase the scope of your influence. Use this spotlight to elevate your organisation and your priorities in order to support your organisations and help them navigate this uncharted territory.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech ExpoBlockchain ExpoAI & Big Data ExpoCyber Security & Cloud Expo and 5G Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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