Gartner Information Technology Research

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center Primer for 2020

Published: 01 April 2020

ID: G00723077

Analyst(s): Roberta Witty , Chris Howard

Summary

Pandemic response requires extensive organizational planning and agility. The uncertain time frame of the COVID-19 outbreak means business and IT leaders should arrange short- and long-term plans for protecting employee health, assessing third-party exposure and ensuring continuity of operations.

Scope

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation. While agencies like the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide updated information as their understanding of the pandemic grows, Gartner research can guide organizations aiming to maintain continuity in uncertain contexts and to establish revised and attainable business objectives.

Topics covered within this initiative include:

  • Overall Pandemic Preparedness Advice: The uncertain time frame of disease outbreaks means leaders should arrange short- and long-term plans for protecting employee health, assessing third-party exposure, and ensuring continuity of operations.

  • Technologies to Help Manage a Crisis: Minimize the impact of social restrictions on staff, the organizational supply chain, service delivery and IT infrastructure.

  • Redefine objectives to attain reasonable delivery and efficiency targets and optimize operational expenses.

  • CIO Considerations for Responding to COVID-19: CIOs need to respond to the crisis with both short- and long-term actions to increase resilience against future disruptions, and to prepare for rebound and growth.

  • Remote Work Advice: Leaders must address the changing enterprise needs as the digital workplace evolves and remote working becomes more common.

  • Secure Remote Access Advice: This research will help CIOs provide strategies for effectively managing the remote worker.

  • Leaders must address the changing enterprise needs as the digital workplace evolves and remote working becomes more common.

  • Technology Service Provider Advice: Vendors must identify opportunities to deliver services in changing settings and to optimize costs.

  • COVID-19 Implications on Network/Telecommunication: This research helps I&O technical professionals plan for pandemic disruption.

  • Collaboration and Meeting Solutions: To deliver compelling and successful events, application leaders must create engaging experiences that connect content and technology.

  • Industry-Specific Advice: This research covers concerns for various leaders throughout numerous industries.

  • Forecast Analysis for COVID-19 Implications: COVID-19 has distorted supply chain and manufacturing operations in China, leading to a drastic drop in consumer spending on smartphones and PCs across the region.

  • Uncertainties swirl around the potential impact the coronavirus may have on global spend. We highlight data surrounding past similar events.

  • Corporate communications, HR, finance and marketing leaders must take a “people first” approach and regularly assess risk to inform and deploy plans.

Analysis

The spread of the new coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19, which emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019, is a clear indicator that companies need to prepare for, respond to, and endure large-scale global outbreaks of a dangerous disease. This dynamic situation, which could span months and has rapidly expanded well-beyond the Asia/Pacific region to impact populations throughout the world, has proven to be one of the most disruptive incidents in recent years. Entire nations are restricting daily travel and closing nonessential businesses, and organizations everywhere are seriously reassessing core functions like employee travel, supply chain and event operations.

The situation has had numerous impacts on nearly every aspect of the economy, including investment activity, consumer behavior and remote work. Markets have plunged, suggesting a short-term recession. All organizations have been disrupted as the pandemic unfolds, and these contexts force them to strive for a better understanding of where any processes, systems and organizational structures have failed. Leaders should determine what resources demand reconfiguration. These assessments are critical to a response that can guide an organization beyond mere survival and into a phase of reconstruction, even as the global conditions remain unsettled.

The extraordinary measures enacted by governments the world over show that pandemics aren’t a usual business disruption. These events require an extra set of activities that include consultations with epidemiologists, critical role identification and third-party evaluations. Client concerns also include enterprise risk management, technology, product launch, go-to-market messaging, internal communications and more. This research will explore how to manage these complex areas so business and IT leaders can bring the organization through a crisis in a focused and well-positioned way for the new normalcy..

Figure 1. COVID-19 Resource Center

Topics

Leaders must be able to set attainable business objectives, both immediate and long term, as global responses to the COVID-19 outbreak severely disrupt the world economy. They must gather and deploy the resources, people, processes and tools that power safe and reasonable operations aligned with strategic plans, and execute effectively and efficiently. Use Gartner’s 2020 research to optimize capabilities and organizational success.

Suggested First Steps

  • — The uncertain time frame of disease outbreaks means leaders should arrange short- and long-term plans for protecting employee health, assessing third-party exposure, and ensuring continuity of operations.

  • — Leaders should use this Toolkit as a guide and checklist of advice to ensure they have as complete a pandemic preparedness plan as possible.

  • — Crisis escalation procedures are often ambiguous, resulting in delays in getting critical information to those responsible for the crisis management plan, which leads to slower response times.

  • — Pandemics aren’t your usual business disruption. These events require an extra set of activities that include consultations with epidemiologists, critical role identification and third-party evaluations.

  • — Unfolding over months, pandemics require an extra set of activities that include consultations with epidemiologists, critical role identification and third-party evaluations.

Essential Reading

  • — This research helps leaders understand the benefits of scenario planning to maintain their function’s strategic focus, take advantage of opportunities and plan for potential risks during moments of economic uncertainty.

  • — This research describes the essential first steps of creating remote work programs.

  • — The new coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, has become an epidemic disruption, affecting supply chains through lack of access to markets, materials and most importantly staff.

  • — As more employees spend at least part of their week working from home, organizations need to think strategically about designing policies that enable remote workers to succeed.

  • — As the coronavirus spreads rapidly from Wuhan, China to more than a dozen countries around the globe, businesses fear the consequences of the outbreak will result in severe supply chain disruption.

Tools and Toolkits

  • — This pandemic flu business continuity plan template offers a basic plan structure, guidance on disease control strategies, information about what to expect from the government, and tips on how to personalize the template.

  • — Remote work programs benefit from having well-designed policies that clarify employee and manager responsibilities.

  • — This user-customizable Toolkit offers enterprises an easy way to assess the effectiveness of their plans following a business disruption.

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