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The CIO moment: Leadership through the second wave of the coronavirus crisis

In this webinar, McKinsey experts discuss how CIOs can support companies’ digitization efforts now that the initial effort to stabilize the core business has largely concluded.

As the COVID-19 crisis has progressed, the role of the CIO and the work of IT have evolved. The immediate response was to stabilize the core business. Now companies are furthering their digitization efforts to sustain their operating models and provide new interactions and services for customers. Navigating this second phase requires CIOs to address four key challenges:

  • Adjust ways of working for agile teams. Smaller teams not only help keep things manageable but also provide clear roles and responsibilities. CIOs can increase clarity and directness of communication between colleagues as well as emphasize company culture.
  • Increase communication with leadership. Successful companies show a higher frequency of interaction and more direct interaction between leadership and teams. Increased communication ensures that teams not only feel like they are doing the right thing but also feel acknowledged and motivated. In addition, psychological well-being in times of crisis should not be underestimated.
  • Redeploy the workforce. One of the main challenges during COVID-19 crisis is keeping the workforce motivated. A variety of roles can be redeployed to other jobs or tasks or trainings, some of which should have been done years ago. CIOs can help create opportunities for any colleagues who experience excess capacity, including training for agile working, recently adopted technologies, or even new management roles.
  • Consolidate online channels. Once the crisis has passed, increased online traffic will likely be significant. Thus, CIOs can help improve flow and performance by removing any bottlenecks. First, they will need an in-depth understanding of when customers engage with specific channels and how to manage effective outreach. Then they can address additional questions, such as knowing when to add additional hardware or whether short-term solutions are necessary.

For more, please see “After the first wave: How CIOs can weather the coronavirus crisis” and “Driving digital change during a crisis: The chief digital officer and COVID-19.”

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