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Many organizations have begun to stabilize their business and meet the new needs of their customers and communities. Once they have safely continued operations, leaders can begin long-term planning and think about business beyond the immediate impacts of COVID-19. CIOs can leverage the learnings from previous stages and evaluate the impact the pandemic will have on the company’s digital transformation.

MuleSoft’s connectivity benchmark report found that 92% of organizations were currently undertaking digital transformation initiatives or planned to in the next year. While the disruption caused some organizations to pause digital transformation projects to focus on stabilization, for many others it acted as a catalyst that accelerated their transformation.

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Many organizations who quickly adapted to the crisis — by shifting to remote work environments with minimal impact to productivity or quickly launching new channels so customers could access digital services and products, were able to do so because they had already laid the foundation for agility. Once your team has met all imperative demands and safety is ensured — it’s time to think about growth in the next normal.

Customer and employee demands will not be falling back to previous norms — instead, they will be shifting and moving forward. Your organization’s digital transformation strategy will need to change with it. The steps in this track will help you assess your current state of operations, identify areas for growth and agility, and adjust your transformation strategy accordingly. 

#1 Assess current state with an audit

As the dust settles, assess your organization’s systems and processes to see where you currently stand. You’ve seen how fast your business can run — now take the time to conduct an audit to see where your IT organization can be more efficient.

Communication will be key during this audit. Talk to the various stakeholders within your technical organization and have candid conversations about what the team has accomplished and how current operations can be improved.

Through this audit, identify which processes and applications are creating the most inefficiencies. As a business grows, the number of applications increases exponentially. If no checks are put in place, the organization’s overall efficiency will decrease. Consider which applications contribute most to business outcomes and which could be eliminated to reduce technical debt. 

#2 Pave the way forward with alignment

Once you understand the current state of your technology and processes, you can plan where to direct your organization next. This means defining your IT roadmap for the next normal.

First, align your stakeholders — the best way to do this is by establishing a Center for Enablement (C4E). A C4E is a group that drives the IT operating model shift and can set goals, priorities, and leads the team through this change. This group will get the business and technical teams to work toward the same goal.

After this team has been assembled, get visibility into business priorities which will influence the IT team’s priorities, tasks, and projects. Continue this alignment as business demands shift with the new needs of the market. For the IT team, this could be increasing remote-working capabilities, automating manual processes, unlocking new systems and data, building new applications, etc. 

#3 Meet short-term demand gaps

With clear visibility, start to identify the gaps between your organization’s offerings and current customer needs. It’s likely your team was busy fighting fires during the stabilize phase — focusing on only the highest-priority tasks. See which low- to medium-priority needs were superseded, and consider how your team can now adjust to deliver on them.

Think of the tasks or projects that may be important, but not urgent. Here’s an example in banking: Ensuring that employees had access to critical systems while working remotely was both important and urgent in the stabilization track, while creating a portal for customers to self-service information about their newly online loan application was important but not urgent. Now you can focus on the short-term projects that can deliver immediate support for customers and employees to set the business up for future growth.

Use integration technology with composable assets to create connected experiences, products, and services faster for the next normal. Composable integration assets enable your business to deliver on critical needs now and quickly scale later. Additionally, you can leverage these assets to create and scale new revenue channels for the business.

#4 Enable long-term agility with an API strategy

Finally, think about the long-term plan for the business and technical teams. How has your digital transformation plans shifted after COVID-19? Did you unlock data and build solutions in the previous tracks that are similar to the initiatives on your transformation roadmap? Are there assets that you can reuse to get these initiatives off the ground faster?

Agility will be what separates market leaders in this next normal. The ability to move and act upon changing consumer demands quickly — launching new products, services, and applications — will be crucial for your organization’s digital transformation. Get ahead of future change or disruption with an API strategy for integration to increase speed and agility, today and for the future.

The key to agility, from an integration standpoint, is reuse. With an API-led approach to connectivity, organizations can expose capabilities and data to the wider ecosystem and leverage it to enhance customer experiences. See which systems and processes are already unlocked and how you can leverage those in new innovations. Extend the power of the innovations you’ve created by enabling your partners and other third-party developers with access to your APIs. 

CIOs and IT leaders are uniquely positioned to lead the growth efforts of organizations beyond the current crisis. To learn more about these steps as well as additional steps to reopening and growing your business, download the CIO guide to crisis recovery.