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Gartner: 8 Financial Moves CIOs Must Make to Weather the COVID-19 Pandemic

Research firm Gartner recently came out with a set of recommendations for CIOs to help get their organizations through the financial fallout from COVID-19. While the proposed "action items" are primarily geared toward the corporate sector, they also offer some sound advice for higher education institutions facing constrained budgets during this time.

"Survival, not growth, will be the priority for executives in 2020," according to Chris Ganly, senior research director at Gartner. "Survival will depend on maintaining cash flows … while continuing to be innovative with technology. "Enterprises that fail to act may not survive this disruption or will have their subsequent recovery delayed."

Gartner's top eight recommendations are:

1) Place nonessential spend on hold. "CIOs should immediately establish what aspects of their current spend can be deferred, eliminated or altered," Gartner asserted.

2) Anticipate spend increases. For instance, in many cases the move to remote work has resulted in increased spending on laptops, monitors, mobile devices, software, VPN costs and more. "CIOs must anticipate and plan for the increased costs, which in many organizations will be felt in the IT budget," noted Ganly.

3) Reduce current spend rates. Gartner recommended classifying spend in terms of what can or cannot be "ceased, deferred or delayed," and then reprioritizing spending levels accordingly.

4) Evaluate all existing investments. "CIOs should immediately review all projects that are already in progress," Gartner said. "Noncritical projects should be immediately halted, while critical projects … should be reviewed to determine what aspects can be reduced."

5) Defer any new spend. Gartner suggested deferring or canceling "all uncommenced spending on projects, staffing, assets or upgrades and release any retained third-party resources, service or infrastructure expenses related to these."

6) Reevaluate all existing spending. "CIOs should inspect their organizations' current consumption levels on all variable operating expenses — for example, cloud services and voice and data communications," said Ganly. "On a service-by-service basis, either completely eliminate or take control actions to reduce enterprise-wide consumption levels by restricting or managing supply and renegotiating contract terms as necessary."

7) Negotiate consumption down. This means working with users on operational or workflow changes that can reduce costs.

8) Explore alternate financing approaches. "CIOs should work with their CFOs to investigate what government or industry financial assistance is available at the federal, state and local level," Gartner said.

The full report, "8 Actions CIOs Must Take During COVID-19 for Financial Survival," is available to Gartner clients here.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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