We’ve been reminded lately of how much we rely on our digital world – especially when the physical one is all but cancelled at a moment’s notice. CTO’s are more aware of this than most spending the majority of their time and efforts in making sure their infrastructure delivers what the brand promises to stakeholders and customers. However, with increased pressure on our digital offerings, its worrying to think that technology roadmaps may be derailed by a virus – biological, not computer.
The latest challenges have meant that many CTO’s are increasingly scrutinising and prioritising software development projects – putting development work on hold and cutting back on costs. It is of course necessary to consider costs, but they should always be weighed against the long-term cost to the organisation and its overall objectives. Spending now on technology projects might not feel like the optimum time, but if it costs the organisation dear in terms of performance down the line, it may be necessary. Will decision making come under scrutiny six to twelve months from now when technology infrastructure isn’t up to the job? How might pausing key development projects impact the business when the world has tilted back on a more normal axis?
- Regulatory Requirements: industry sectors such as Financial Services work to strict regulatory requirements, and technology infrastructure must meet those requirements head on. Deferring software development projects may mean deferring meeting some of the regulations which will still come into play further down the line. Can you afford to put them off?
- R&D: Deprioritising research and development can lead to a stagnation of ideas, business improvements and experimentation that often-become new product development or creation of services desired by customers. Inaction at this point will take effect on the business six to 12 months from now.
- A spike in demand: certain industries have been all but wiped out by the pandemic. However, when the world returns to some normality, demand will be greater than ever as people want to live their lives to the full. Once travel restrictions are lifted and people begin to venture out with friends and family once more the spike in demand across services industries will mean that technology infrastructure will be tested – it must stand up to the pressure it will inevitably be placed under. Industries currently “weathering the storm” should consider that abandoning projects may cost them more in the long run.
- Derailed Roadmap: axing IT budgets will undoubtedly narrow the technology roadmap of an organisation. The impact of doing so will have an affect long after 2020 is over and we’ve moved past the challenges faced. However, a shift in priorities does not have to mean kicking most deliverables into the long grass. Technology leaders should assess their roadmaps in line with what immediate solutions will benefit the business during this time, whilst considering how future innovations will impact and shape their longer-term strategies.
- Skills: We know that skilled software development teams are hard won and expensive to keep. We also know that developers like to work on exciting projects and with interesting and new technologies. Cutting back on these elements may mean that three months from now when things begin to return to normal, those developers may seek new employment. By investing in technology now, organisations ensure their skills stay with them.
- Competition: It’s a sad fact that within all sectors some organisations might not make it to the other side. The phrase “transform or die” is now a harsh reality – where technology has sometimes been lower on the priority list, it is now an unavoidable part of any business. Competition will be narrowed within all marketplaces, and organisations that stay ahead of the curve in terms of their software development now will be best placed to gain an operational advantage in the coming months.
- Diversification: Hard times will certainly end and being in the best shape to return to profitability will be the focus. Many businesses will reinvent themselves and diversify to capitalise on the opportunities presented by rethinking the ways they have been doing things. To take advantage of a post-virus world means that technology infrastructure must also stay ahead in order to support the new ways of working and any diversification in business model.
- Listen to the warning: This time has highlighted weaknesses in the way we work and uncovered priorities. Business connectivity, telecoms, logistics, accessibility, collaboration and the limitations of legacy systems in a mobile world have all thrown light on new development projects that need attention. Heed the warnings and put those wheels in motion.
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