Tech leaders have definitely stepped up to the plate during the pandemic. Their response to the crisis has been impressive: From helping to develop technology to track the virus’ spread, to overseeing transitions to remote work arrangements at their companies, to helping to stretch connectivity to underserved communities, tech leaders have played a significant role both in keeping businesses afloat and tackling the crisis itself.
Still, even in a post-Covid-19 world, the hard work of the tech industry won’t be over—in many ways, it will be just beginning. To stay on top of a changing marketplace, tech leaders need to take action to prepare now. To help, 12 industry experts from Forbes Technology Council talk about the steps tech leaders can take today to prepare for what lies ahead.
1. Double down on your culture.
To prepare for the “new normal,” leaders need to use the current constraints to double down on their culture. Culture is formalized in values, behaviors and objectives, which are easy to share remotely. However, culture also consists of the innate qualities that leaders display, which are harder to observe from afar. Make an extra effort to lead by example to reinforce and align culture. – Ivan Harris, Kraytix
2. Get in tune with changing customer behaviors.
To thrive in a post-Covid-19 world, it’s more important than ever for tech leaders to be in tune with rapidly changing customer behaviors. New data shows 53% of consumers say their values have changed amid the crisis. Understanding their needs directly—not just through surveys or analytical tools—and responding to their demands will help leaders better meet their changing needs for the long term. – Jeff Wong, EY
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3. Enable authentic, consistent communication with employees.
Now more than ever, employees expect authentic and consistent communications from leadership. IT must open new remote channels that can handle increasing amounts of video and audio streams without creating security vulnerabilities. We’re seeing an increased premium on solutions with API foundations that can solve front- and back-end streaming challenges while delivering a low cost of ownership. – Jen Grogono, uStudio
4. Invest in technology that will make you agile.
We encourage manufacturers to rethink traditional manufacturing methods, as they are expensive and incur long lead times. Covid-19 shut down manufacturing plants and closed borders; if your supply chain was overseas, then you were stuck. Digital manufacturing enables the flexibility to react quickly and to keep your supply chain closer to home. – Benny Buller, VELO3D
5. Invest in digital workforce and customer experience technologies.
The post-Covid-19 world will be more digital. This means minimal or no physical contact for sales, in employee interactions, in the supply chain, etc. To be prepared for the new normal, leaders must address the future fundamentals of health and hygiene by investing in digital workforce and customer experience technologies. Immediate investments in infrastructure for virtual and fluid teams, device diversity, and geographic and time flexibility will help. – Prasanna Singaraju, Qentelli
6. Work to hire and retain the best talent regardless of location.
Efficiently managing diverse talent from various regions will be essential. There are no borders to talent, and with Covid-19 pushing many of us to remote work, the availability of global talent has never been as high. To remain competitive, leaders should strive to hire and retain the best talent regardless of location and establish cultural norms of diversity and inclusion. – Einat Metzer, Emedgene
7. Run continuous security risk assessments.
The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has proven that applications are the driving force of the world economy. Organizations will need to protect their online platforms during the post-pandemic future by employing continuous security risk assessments to maintain uptime and guard against vulnerabilities. When security is a key consideration in software quality, digital assets are protected from hackers. – Anthony Bettini, WhiteHat Security
8. Embrace a strategy of multicloud adoption.
Smart IT leaders have recognized the advantages of cloud-delivered IT to scale quickly in response to Covid-19 quarantines and will double down on this approach. As you plan cloud projects, be sure to include a strategy for multicloud adoption that avoids lock-in and evolves your identity-management systems to support, secure and manage the requirements of this increasingly distributed world. – Eric Olden, Strata Identity
9. Don’t lose sight of your mission.
The healthcare tech industry is well-positioned to lead with innovation in a time like this. We’re already seeing that with telehealth, which I believe will become even more of a staple in a post-Covid world. Right now though, tech companies should not lose sight of their missions and business goals and how they can disrupt the market when we get on the other side of Covid-19. Stay the course. – Gail Peace, Ludi, Inc.
10. Prepare for remote worker burnout.
It’s tempting to be reassured by the initial increase in productivity that often comes with a transition to remote work, but tech leaders need to prepare for and try to prevent burnout. We’re exploring ways to encourage a healthy work-life balance, including testing more flexibility in workday hours and implementing “walking meetings.” – Sanjoy Malik, Urjanet
11. Focus on your team’s mental well-being.
The pandemic taught us that we need to pay more attention to the mental well-being of the professionals within our teams—and we have to start addressing it now. Developing different programs for emotional support, talking to the teams more and making sure everyone feels all right are the small steps that we can take to make sure that our teams feel secure in the moments of future crises. – Daria Leshchenko, SupportYourApp Inc.
12. Maintain trust through privacy protection.
In a world where every business went digital overnight, tech leaders scaled their infrastructure and maintained a consistent customer experience, enabling the economy to function. In a post-Covid-19 world, this new model will persist as long as trust is established and maintained with privacy preservation when conducting data collection, storage and processing. – Ameesh Divatia, Baffle, Inc.