Covid-19 has ushered in the era of the CTOPosted about 4 years ago by Nick Boulton

The global technology market will never be the same again, that much is clear.

But who will be the driving force behind shaping your company in the COVID-19 era? Will it be the CEO? The CMO? Maybe even the money-counting CFO?

More and more the c-suite will be leaning on the expertise and knowledge of one person: the CTO.

The speed, impact and scale of the pandemic took most CTOs and business owners by surprise. It brought the fragility of most IT systems into stark relief, despite the “state of the art” security systems they touted.

The disaster that has unfolded is unlike any disaster that could have been imagined or planned for. Crisis management plans were tossed aside and new survival tactics were made on the hop. The focus shifted dramatically towards IT departments and their leadership almost immediately.

Companies were forced to answer one big question: "How resilient are our systems, really?"

While you need to demonstrate calm leadership and clear communication in times of panic, this is also the time businesses need their tech experts to deliver. It poses a massive set of challenges, but also huge opportunities for CTOs to flex their muscles and push their companies forward.

Questions being lumped in the inbox of tech leaders run the gamut of macro to micro. With working from home steadfastly becoming the norm, questions arose about how to scale up an environment for a widely dispersed workforce, client base and possibly, supply chain, while still considering:

  • Whether all employees have the necessary tools and connectivity to work from home
  • If their systems have the capability to cope with the increased network capacity and reliance
  • A slew of fast-evolving security threats from individuals looking to capitalise at this vulnerable time
  • How employees will receive ongoing information and still need to work efficiently.

As the Coronavirus spreads around the world, individuals and organisations are feeling the enormous impact economically. Many companies have already announced they will miss financial targets for both Q2 and probably the year. Even companies with resilient infrastructures are now discovering gaps and weaknesses in their strategies.

If we fast forward into the future, a recession is highly likely and in my opinion, CTOs more than ever will be one of the key stake holders in taking organisations forward. When we have time to take stock and reflect on the fall out of this disaster, business owners and executive boards will look at overheads and realise 'necessities' like large expensive offices and long rental leases don't matter.

But a robust IT system does. Big time. Step up to the plate your IT department, captained by your CTO!

Most of the effort in preparing businesses to succeed in the “new norm” post-apocalyptic CV-19 era, will stem from technology. In most cases IT teams already have the skill and knowledge to make this happen. Deploying new platforms, installing new hardware, spinning up new customers, can all be done efficiently and remotely.

BUT, one of the big challenges is how to get employees, customers and others to use the technology available most efficiently. This can’t be achieved with the IT team alone. Most of this falls at the CTOs door and other members of the leadership team.

I’m looking forward to what this landscape will look like and how we will best be able to support it. Finding the best leadership teams will be top of most organisations hit lists.

Do you have the right people in charge?