In today’s unparalleled circumstances, organizations are discussing ways to slow digital transformation and preserve capital. However, history has proven that companies that took a strategic future-focused investment approach were ready when the global economy rebounded. Today, with 80 percent of revenue growth tied to digital offerings and operations over the next three years, IT leaders should continue transforming their operating models and investing in key enablers, like integrated cloud, agile, automation, AI, blockchain and advanced data and analytics.

In this video, we walk you through five lenses through which to view your transformation initiatives in order to preserve your hard-won initiatives, while balancing short-term efforts with long term measures.

In addition, view our perspective on accelerating digital transformation efforts during times of uncertainty.

Transformation initiatives

While balancing the short-term efforts with long-term measures, we think there are five lenses to look through when preserving your hard-won initiatives:

  1. Business Impact:

    Many digital transformations have a backlog containing some items related to “customer engagement” or “employee engagement” as a strategic objective, which in today’s COVID-19 environment means reprioritizing your backlog.  In today’s context, where workplace technology may have a relatively lower priority, it is now raised to a high priority as organizations struggle to enable remote working.

  2. Risk and Compliance:

    When thinking about COVID-19 risk and complications implications, it is imperative to think through the architecture of the entire value chain-front, middle, and back office to ensure your transformation initiatives stay risk neutral regardless of what levers may get pulled.

  3. Financial:

    Though a CIO has a fairly straightforward playbook of financial levers to rely on during a critically challenging time, it is vital to not over-simplify certain levers.  For example, there could be direct financial impacts, such as, potential write-offs, interest charges, tax credit implications, invoicing or payable issues.  There could also be indirect financial considerations, such as, the slow down or re-start-up costs, contractual penalties and the future availability of capital timed to the market opportunity.

  4. Cultural:

    In challenging times, it is easy to revert back to the ways we formally knew of working to avoid the cost of change.  Now is the time to commit to the IT operating model and all of its dimensions, including: process, technology, governance, people and service delivery, model, performance insights and data.  Remember that efforts around scaling agile, DevOps, virtual collaboration and lean funding are all essential to helping the business accelerate quickly through recovery.

  5. Third Party:

    The COVID-19 pandemic is having enormous impact on many companies’ third-party technology ecosystems.  When reviewing your transformation programs, and understanding what, if any consequences there will be for delaying or cancelling programs, be sure to consider your partner relationships.  Now is more important than ever to carefully review contracts, any potential loss of vendor subject matter experts, settle any disputes or open issues and be sure your intellectual property is protected in the event of a change.

Organizations who continue to invest in the most important enablers during this most challenging time will likely be the ones who come out not only ahead and more competitive, but, thriving from within.


1Source: IDC Press Release, IDC Launches New Framework to Accelerate Digital Transformation and Help Enterprises Become Digital Natives (IDC, Oct 2017)

Additional insight: IT in an economic downturn.

More to the COVID-19:

Insights for CIOs and IT executives series


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