Time for issue 7 of our weekly-curated list of must-read content. Like last week, this issue presents useful and informative content on the coronavirus and innovation, especially regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic heightens the need for innovation and collaboration (as we’re seeing now with new apps being developed to combat the virus, organizations adapting to remote work, and companies making good use of collaboration software platforms like Zoom and Slack).
Once again, you can read the summaries or click on the link for the full article.
Experts and CIOs advise businesses to accelerate their business transformation efforts now so that they can be in a better position once the pandemic passes. Putting digital strategy on the backburner in such overwhelming times is human nature, but if we are to learn anything from the dot-com bust, 9/11, and the 2008 financial crisis, it’s that companies that tried to save money during such disruptions were at a disadvantage in the end. Global leader of KPMG’s CIO center of excellence, Steve Bates, profers that companies that can continue investing in their digital strategy during this time will emerge victorious and more competitive. COVID-19 can facilitate the creation of innovations. Just take a look at Equinix CIO Milind Wagle, who set up a Zoom-enabled tech help desk that is available 24/7 worldwide. However, while digital innovation is crucial, increasing business resiliency also needs to be part-and-parcel of every business transformation. For CIOs trying to survive and thrive during the pandemic, they can: Scale cloud and XaaS, boost process automation, scale DevOps, fortify data analytics, and build self-service capabilities.
Remote work on such a massive scale, as we’re witnessing now, is an unparalleled challenge. But as founder and CEO of infographic.ly Carla Saliba writes, this is not simply a time for compliance. Remote work is no longer an idea, and even though there was a 159% in people working remotely between 2005-2017 in the US alone, there are still many companies out there that are struggling with this shift towards a remote workforce. But now, companies have the unique opportunity to implement effective remote work protocols (and not just knee-jerk reactions) and lay the groundwork for a digitally-minded future. Industry 4.0 is here, and we already have the tools and technology we need to address and move the conversation of the future of work forward. If we put safeguards in place now, we’ll be better prepared should something like this happen again. We’re already starting to find out that for many companies, “office life” can actually continue effectively in a virtual setting. Saliba advises businesses not to think of remote work as a stopgap solution but one that is evolutionary, bringing us into a new era of the working world.
Innovation helps organizations look to the future with confidence and makes them capable of surviving a wide range of disruptions, including the one we’re experiencing right now. While we don’t know what the long-term impact on our health and the economy will be, we can be certain that collaborative and innovative thinking and execution of projects are needed to address this pandemic. Simon Hill, innovation leader and expert, writes that the language we use around coronavirus is counterintuitive to the idea of collaboration, such as the term “social-distancing”, which can be associated with silos and isolation. He believes using a term like “physical-distancing” could be better as we are more than capable of virtually coming together to collaborate. Many organizations are also coming to realize that solutions they need may lie outside of the business, with companies being more open to ideas from employees, partners, customers, and society as a whole. The writing is on the wall: We need collaboration and co-creation now more than ever.
A new app, developed by King’s College London, is set to help researchers track the spread of the coronavirus. The app is called Covid Symptom Tracker and has already been downloaded by over 750,000 people. The idea behind the app is to collect data from a large number of people and form connections between symptoms and underlying health conditions, which will then help researchers gain a better understanding of how quickly the virus is spreading in different areas, where the hotspots are, and which people are most at risk. And critically, it will help researchers understand why some people only develop mild symptoms while others become severely ill. The app will only be useful if there are enough participants, but with enough data, researchers believe that they can see where symptoms are clustering and perhaps where outbreaks are starting.
By looking at the Tweet below, it’s clear video conferencing platform, Zoom, is doing well. According to tech columnist for Inc., Jason Aten, there is a lot businesses can learn from Zoom’s success:
- Make it simple. All you have to do is download the Zoom app and then click on the invitation to launch your meeting. It’s quick, easy, and designed for even the least tech-savvy among us to use.
- Make it accessible. Zoom can be used across multiple devices, meaning you can use it anywhere at anytime.
- Make it affordable. Although Zoom didn’t invent the freemium model, it mastered it in a highly technical market where offering a freemium model hadn’t really been done before.
- Make it reliable. Zoom is doing incredibly well considering the surge in usage over the past few weeks.
- Make it fun. With Zoom, you have the option to customize your background, such as to one where it looks like you’re on the beach! While these features aren’t necessary, they’re fun and show Zoom’s commitment to the UX.
With the very abrupt and fast shift to remote work, Userlane has created a survey to assess how companies are approaching remote work, particularly regarding their training efforts. If you’d like to participate, you can fill out our quick survey. The survey runs until 5 April, and we will make the results publicly available!