Whether your business is an established empire, or you were just starting to get your ideas out into the business world as a start-up organisation – the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a devastating impact on business operations worldwide. The main demise of businesses is the inability to adapt and entities that could not innovate and incorporate creative ways to sustain income have found it challenging to keep their heads above the water during this period where physical interaction with customers is limited. What is not, however, limited, is the ability to diversify business operations to include what is perhaps the only unphased aspect of life as we know it – technology.

This article explores the options that a business can adopt to do business during the lockdown period. The first and most important stage is the planning stage.

Failure to plan is planning to fail

Planning during a pandemic focuses on prudent assumptions of the future position of the organisation. This entails that it is imperative to assess the future from a worst-case scenario position. The advantage of this approach versus the opposite is that it accounts for the unpredictability of the situation we find ourselves in and in general terms; overcompensating is far wiser than being underprepared. Companies routinely plan budgets, sales and marketing strategies, and operational adjustments. However, the most forward-thinking and progressive companies are also developing what are referred to as strategic technology plans.

A strategic technology plan is an assessment of a company’s current technological strengths and weaknesses. The assessment then establishes a roadmap to align technology with the way the company wants to do business. The economies of a planning exercise of this type are scaled to the size of the organisation. The bigger your business, the more value the implementation of technology planning is. However, smaller businesses will have a better change transition as far as adopting technology into their processes which makes it a suitable first step for all business sizes.

Top 3 Technology Planning Assessment Tools

  1. OneNorthwest’s Organizational Infrastructure Assessment Form, which is available as a downloadable PDF file, is a good one to start with. It’s comprehensive enough for most purposes and will probably lead to some useful brainstorming.
  2. Strategic Technology’s Components of Tech Assessment & Readiness is a much more detailed set of documents which can be downloaded individually as PDF files.
  3. For more remote assessment, NPower’s Tech Surveyor and Tech Atlas are interactive online tools. 

Our fourth and notable mention is TechSoup which takes a different approach to assessment by providing a series of online worksheets listing questions on specific aspects of technology.

If done correctly, technology planning can provide a foundation to fulfil your organizational mission. It will also help in the planning and procurement of funds to get the right technology for your business needs.

Technology for different business processes

Collaboration in teams

Effective collaboration has been compromised by the dispersion of workforces during the quarantine. In order to maintain team cohesion, the efficiency of communication must be the top priority. Communication serves as a foundation for planning. All the essential information must be communicated to the managers who in-turn must communicate the plans to implement them.

The advantage of working in offices is the ability to have oversight of all business processes and monitor the effectiveness of individual contributions to the company objective.  The distribution of work and the subsequent evaluation is not possible without written and oral communication.

There are several software programs that have been developed to incorporate the administration of work processes as well as enabling business staff to coordinate projects that are critical to maintaining core operations during this lockdown period.