How CIOs can limit the business disruption of the coronavirus — Gartner

Research and advisory company Gartner has offered CIOs three immediate technological solutions to combat the disruption of the coronavirus on businesses.

Gartner is advising CIOs to establish or utilise digital infrastructure to help lessen the business disruption of the coronavirus, Covid-19.

“With such a dynamic situation like Covid-19, it has the potential to be as disruptive, or more, to an organisation’s continuity of operations as a cyber intrusion or natural disaster,” said Sandy Shen, senior research director at Gartner.

“When traditional channels and operations are impacted by the outbreak, the value of digital channels, products and operations becomes immediately obvious. This is a wake-up call to organisations that focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience.”

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Digital collaboration

With various quarantine measures and travel restrictions undertaken by organisations, cities and countries, uncertainties and disruptions are beginning to have more of an impact on businesses and their workforces. This increases the chance that business operations are either being suspended or run in a limited capacity.

In response to this, Gartner are promoting the use of AI to automate some tasks particularly basic customer service protocols and candidate screenings.

In its report, Gartner also recommends that in organisations where remote working capabilities have not yet been established, CIOs need to work out interim solutions, including using instant messaging for general communication, file sharing/meeting solutions, and access to enterprise applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM).

The coronavirus, Covid-19, has severely disrupted a number of industries around the world.

Digital channels

If it isn’t possible for organisations to meet their clients face to face, Gartner recommends using digital channels such as video calls and live streaming solutions that can serve various customer
engagement and selling scenarios.

Organisations should also consider enabling their customers to use self-service via online, mobile, social, kiosk and interactive voice response (IVR) channels.

“The value of digital channels becomes obvious as market demand shrinks and as people rely more on online platforms for daily supplies. Organisations can leverage digital channels, such as online marketplaces and social platforms, to compensate for some of the demand loss,” said Shen.

“They can set up official pages/accounts and integrate commerce capabilities to enable online selling. They should also quickly adapt products to make them suited for selling through digital channels.”

Reliable information

Gartner is advising to prevent the spread of misinformation within the workforce, companies need to impart reliable information about the virus.

“Organisations can offer curated content, drawn from internal and external sources, to provide actionable guidance to employees. These sources include local governments, healthcare authorities and international organisations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO). HR and corporate communications leaders may be involved to vet the content and interpret the company’s policies,”
said Shen.

“Organisations should set up a site, app or hotline to share this information on a regular basis. Employees can also use these platforms to notify the company about their health conditions and seek emergency support and care services.”