LogMeIn CIO: This is IT's time to shine on business continuity

The spotlight is extremely bright right now for CIOs, writes Ian Pitt. CIOs should be using this moment to move even faster and become more efficient
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The last two months have highlighted the extreme value that IT brings to all organizations. 

We’re taking companies in a new direction to keep them alive.

It’s clear that we’re not just about laptops and printers and keeping them running – suddenly we’ve become part of the business continuity team. We’re delivering consistency of service despite what’s happening around the world, and we’re taking companies in a new direction to keep them alive. 

The spotlight is extremely bright right now. This is the year of the CIO.

CIOs should be using this spotlight to move even faster and become more efficient. Now is not the time to say, “No, we can’t do that.” Ultimately, we should be able to reflect on the actions we took during this trying time and say, “Hey, remember that time we saved the company?” That will mean different things in different organizations. 

[ Where are CIOs speed up digital transformation efforts? Read: What CIOs are accelerating during the pandemic. ]

Accelerating our priorities

At LogMeIn, we’re using this new spotlight to accelerate our ongoing priorities. The first is infrastructure. We are a Software-as-a-Service-heavy organization, so only a few of our business applications are hidden behind the VPN. In recent years, we’ve been able to reduce our reliance on VPN such that only about 10 percent of our applications still require VPN access.

We now have an added urgency to make it easier for all employees to access our applications remotely. We know that the faster we can eliminate VPN requirements, while maintaining security of course, the easier it will be to truly work from anywhere. Ultimately, our employees will no longer need to worry about whether they’re plugged into the network to get work done. Not only will this help us with improving the remote working experience for our employees, longer term it will also help us with mergers and acquisitions, setting up new offices, and more. 

The second priority is applications. In the past month, we’ve seen a spike in company purchases of our technology. Our traffic increased approximately 300 percent, with some customers buying products across our entire portfolio. We’re learning a lot from that spike in purchases, and it’s now a priority to make the customer acquisition process easier. 

Other considerations when leading through a pandemic

When the pandemic hit, organizations around the globe dusted off their business continuity plans and found them in differing levels of suitability. Some had pushed them to the back burner until suddenly it was a priority. Regardless, this has been an important lesson in mobilizing quickly. We’ve all had to make some decisions on the fly because we hadn’t played through all of the situations in our pandemic plan. 

Some of our vendors and service providers are learning similar lessons. Most organizations have industry certifications that they need to maintain that require physical audits. That’s difficult to do when everyone is home. We’ll have to work with our auditors and figure out how to interact with them in the future so if this happens again, there’s zero confusion and risk.

This pandemic is presenting CIOs with a broad scope of opportunity. Make sure you’re brought into decision making early, and not as an afterthought. If there’s one thing we’ve learned through the early stages of this, it’s that involving IT early leads to a very different outcome for the company.

This is an important time for CIOs. If you didn’t already have a seat at the table, claim one now. If you had a seat at the table, use these circumstances to increase the scope of your influence. Use this spotlight to elevate your organization and your priorities in order to support your organizations and help them navigate this uncharted territory.

[ Get answers to key digital transformation questions and lessons from top CIOs: Download our digital transformation cheat sheet. ]

Ian Pitt
Ian Pitt is Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Progress. Ian creates the strategy for all Progress technology systems, striking the delicate balance between future-looking innovation and ongoing technology operations. His ultimate goal is to ensure that all company systems deliver world-class experiences to employees and customers.