While businesses and staff were dismissing the impact COVID-19 would have on their operations, CIO's were already preparing. This article about preparing for COVID-19 was published mid-February 2020, 1 month ahead of when everything changed forever. It demonstrates how strong IT Leaders are thinking ahead, planning ahead, managing risk, and taking the best interests of the company into consideration. Who's this person in your organization?
Maybe it’s time for Canadian business to prepare for possible novel coronavirus pandemic - February, 2020
Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam acknowledged this week that governments, businesses and individuals should prepare for an outbreak or pandemic – that Canada may no longer be able to contain and limit COVID-19 if it continues to spread around the world.
As this risk is evolving, it’s becoming a more real possibility businesses could see disruption. Smart businesses continuously assess risk. It’s now time to consider the possible impact to your business and to identify ways of keeping things on track.
This scenario leads to different challenges for every business and every industry. Supply chains could be at risk of being disrupted. Employees may be restricted from coming to work. Customers may be unable to go to your location. No matter what the business, no matter what the industry, first prepare yourself by identifying what processes and people are critical to keeping your business running.
The good news is enabling office staff to work remotely is fairly easy to achieve. Phones, laptops, cloud storage and applications, internet and VPN’s are some of the technologies that can make this happen. Communication and collaboration platforms make working from home even more effective.
A small investment in some technology doesn’t fully prepare you. Businesses need to put some thought into a Communication Plan. How do you contact employees if they are not in the office? How do employees contact their colleagues in the same scenario? What instruction do employees need and when should they get it?
Additionally, technology isn’t going to help you with offline processes. Paper processes need to be identified and potentially digitized or they risk grinding some activities to a halt.
It’s unlikely to prepare yourself so well that you won’t experience some impact. It’s worth recognizing that up front and prioritizing what is most important. Create a schedule of when certain business activities happen such as month end and payroll. Consider the potential outcome if those were delayed.
The message here is don’t delay. Consider it an insurance policy. The preparing you do now is a smart business investment for what is happening today and for what could happen tomorrow.