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CIOs must be investing in adaptiveness post COVID-19, Forrester finds

CIOs must be focused on building and investing in adaptiveness if they will overcome post-pandemic challenges.

This is according to a new report from Forrester, titled The CIOs Guide to Building an Adaptive Enterprise.

Forrester finds that the pressures of the ongoing trade situation and disruption from the COVID-19 lockdown have generated a level of volatility that creates both risk and opportunity.

According to Forrester, adaptive enterprises - those able to quickly sense and respond to different external forces - will be the ones to succeed.

Adaptiveness is key to customer obsession and will allow organisations to anticipate and react to rapid unexpected changes in technology and customer markets, the guide states.

Companies, supply chains, and ecosystems are inextricably connected, and any changes in customer needs, technology, and business trends in one corner of the global ecosystem will ripple across the globe.

On one hand, China plays a key role in the global supply chain. On the other, the global ecosystem is also critical to China's business growth as it is reliant on foreign offerings in key technology areas like chipsets, robot sensors, and industrial design software, according to Forrester.

The analysts state that the way forward is to be adaptive and build a firm's ability to reconfigure its underlying business concepts.

The resulting adaptiveness can help customer-obsessed firms win in future markets. Firms must invest in changes through three primary pillars.

That is, to start with market adaptiveness, invest in emerging and platform technologies, and understand and invest in improving organisational productivity.

For adaptiveness, firms need to be able to go fast when necessary, but they also need the ability to adapt to changing customer, market, or technology conditions, Forrester states.

To achieve this, organisations need to collect and analyse real-time data about their customers and operations to be able to under and adapt to the needs of the market.

CIOs must also work with other business leaders to accelerate their internal innovation processes and launch new services that leverage broader ecosystems.

When it comes to investing in emerging and platform technologies, businesses should be prioritising capitalising on new technologies and driving technology-driven innovation through experimentation.

Forrester states emerging technologies like cloud, AI, 5G, Industrial Internet and blockchain are key areas to focus on. Companies should also build technology platforms that leverage digital ecosystems and enable end-to-end agility.

Finally, for improving organisational productivity, CIOs must implement enterprise collaboration platforms that enable workforce cooperation while also leveraging automation to simplify manual processes.

Firms should also revisit employee sourcing and motivation strategies to maintain productivity, Forrester states.

Forrester principal analyst Danny Mu says, "While the Chinese economy looks to be on the path to recovery, we must be prepared for future crises. ‘Black swan’ incidents like the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to continue to emerge, and the global economy will become increasingly unpredictable.

"In such dynamic business environments, CIOs and other business leaders [...] must build and invest in adaptiveness now, before it's too late."