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How Covid-19 put IT at the forefront of decision-making

There’s no denying that the pandemic shifted the business world on its axis. Amidst this changing landscape, how did IT get a seat at the table at operational meetings? We spoke to Scott Ronan, the Senior Director of Infrastructure at GXO, a supply chain logistics firm on our Digital Lighthouse series, for his thoughts on IT at the forefront of business decision-making and why Scott wants his team ‘to be as lazy as possible’. 

How the pandemic forced businesses to pivot

Due to pandemic-induced pressure, companies had to react faster than ever before. Studies show that businesses were 24 times quicker at adopting advanced technology (such as AI, automation, data management, or identity authentication) than they expected.

Businesses were even faster to make the shift to using advanced technology to underpin their decision-making during the pandemic, at 25 times faster than predicted. This shows us that technology functionality became a priority, in order to service customer needs effectively.

For Scott, that meant Accor, the hotel firm he was working for, had to rethink its approach during COVID-19 restrictions. Instead of managing customer loyalty points and maximising spend per traveller, it became apparent that technology would have to enable the most basic of functions. 

For example, allowing contactless check-in and developing mobile apps to enable convenient customer experiences was paramount to meet the changing lockdowns and safety regulations.

The pandemic forced businesses to be agile, and find ways to work that required technology to make operating a reality. In order to service their customer and keep their company operating, 82% of CFO’s signed off investment in digital capabilities, making it the highest priority compared to other business functions (such as recruitment and risk management), and showing IT was at the forefront of operational needs.

Encouraging laziness when it comes to technology

In Scott’s experience, it pays to embolden employees to make the ‘right’ choices about software instead of the convenient ones to support the company development long term. With businesses making IT a priority, it gives their employees an opportunity to be savvier about their ways of working.

Scott would prefer that his team ‘were as lazy as possible’. Instead of reinventing the wheel every time they need to achieve something, they are encouraged to find software that can support the function and benefit more than one business need. This eliminates short-term fixes and encourages employees to make a strong business case for the solution that best affects the operational activities.

Digital takes its rightful place in decision-making 

COVID-19 truly altered the way businesses leverage technology. In order to recover post-pandemic and beyond, businesses should consider the ways IT can:

  • Help streamline their operations
  • Carry out a multitude of laborious tasks to increase employee productivity
  • Bolster their communications, especially in the era of remote working
  • Improve the customer experience, even through safety regulations and lockdowns

Utilising IT earlier in the decision-making process could transform the way your business works. For more insight into the relationship between technology and business improvement, check out our Digital Lighthouse podcast series, where we speak to industry professionals about what it means to be a digital leader.

Listen to the whole episode or read the full transcript with Scott