Dealing with the downturn | ITworld

Last week, two numbers dominated the news: 100,000, the total number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. – more than any other nation – and 3.28 million, the number of U.S. unemployment claims in a single week, nearly five times that of any week since 1967. When the pandemic passes, many of those jobs may return, but according the Fed and most economists, we’re likely in a recession already.

In 2010, warning CIOs of the possibility of a double-dip recession, Gartner issued this advisory: “In 2008, most CIOs were forgiven for being unprepared to deal with the global recession, but … no CIO will be forgiven for being unprepared a second time.”

Gartner’s advice to IT leaders: Develop a list of IT projects that could be postponed or canceled. But as Ken McGee, a Gartner fellow, told Computerworld’s Mitch Betts, he was doubtful CIOs would heed that advice.

Have CIOs learned their lesson? Did they develop that “just in case” list of projects to pause? Did they update business continuity and disaster recovery plans and conduct tabletop exercises? If not, you can be sure they’re doing that now, even as they are very much in the thick of dealing with the global pandemic and economic downturn.

The problem, of course, is that people seldom make the best decisions in times of crisis. IDG’s enterprise publications – CIO, Computerworld, CSO, InfoWorld, and Network World – offer several different perspectives on making the right choices now to avoid going off track later.

Leading IT in tough times

Writing for CIO, contributor John Edwards offers “7 tips for coping with a limited IT budget,” which kicks off by urging IT leaders to get over their denial and focus on reprioritizing projects immediately. To do that, you need a clear view of the businesses’ strategic goals – and the support of upper management as you move ahead with initiatives that matter. Muster the courage to block zombie projects that suck precious bandwidth, even when bosses demand them. And don’t be afraid to seek external resources if you hit a wall internally.

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