Companies will be challenged to rein in spending over the next several months as they attempt to recover from the economic shocks inflicted by the pandemic. However, it’s not too early to begin thinking longer term. At the moment customers need help with immediate Covid-19 challenges related to business continuity. These include connectivity, collaboration tools, access to applications, and security.
It is also time for IT services providers to promote digital transformation initiatives such as workplace virtualization, cloud migration, hybrid or multi-cloud management, IoT, adoption of advanced analytics and RPA, and cybersecurity. Enterprises will soon need to consider what can be done to improve resiliency in the medium and long term.
Digital transformation is no longer a nice to have; it has become a need to have
Overall, the response by IT services providers to Covid-19 has been muted. At the onset of the crisis, most made the appropriate and generic statements that were expected. They expressed concern for the safety and well-being of employees and clients, and sought to reassure customers that they had the systems and processes in place to continue to service their customers without disruption. This messaging, although necessary, was lackluster compared to what came from others in the IT industry on short notice. Telecom operators such as Verizon unveiled staggering growth rates in network traffic; 8×8 announced a new service designed to get remote employees up and running with collaboration tools more quickly; Salesforce proclaimed it would not have any significant layoffs for 90 days and called on others to follow suit; and most recently HPE revealed new financing terms to help customers with payment relief during today’s difficult times.
Proactive messaging is key
That’s not to say that all IT services players shied away from taking an active thought leadership role. IBM and Accenture stood out among their U.S. and IT services peers. IBM was very proactive with its communication. The company’s messaging moved beyond concern and support for employees and customers to highlight how its technology was being engaged to proactively fight the virus and maintain essential business operations. Accenture took a different, but equally forward-looking approach. It’s messaging was very well-structured and clearly outlined that it could assist customers develop and implement remote working, cloud, analytics (vaccine, cure, logistics), security and business continuity strategies. Across the globe, TCS was also proactive. TCS came out early with announcements that it was providing a Covid-19 patient tracker, offering a platform for clinical trials, working with pharmaceutical and medical institutions to compile data, and researching options for affordable ventilators.
Communication is expanding
More IT services providers are expanding their Covid-19-related communication. Zensar is leveraging its own cloud-based operational model and crisis management experience to offer best practices to customers. The company constructed the Zensar Enterprise Resiliency Framework (ZERF) to help enterprises identify and mitigate the impact of the crisis. The ZenCare component provides remote employees access to a virtual workplace and collaboration tools using a browser. And more recently, Cognizant released forward-looking industry-specific guidance for companies in healthcare, manufacturing and consumer goods, to name a few; Capgemini released insights into managing supply chains, ensuring cybersecurity with a remote workforce, and suggested best practices for retailers
Customers need reminders
IT services providers are dealing with many of the same challenges other organizations are facing. But moving forward, they could stand to step up their game and do more with their messaging. They are experts when it comes to digital transformation, and now is the time to remind customers.