Gartner Research

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center Primer for 2021

Published: 04 February 2021


Pandemic response requires extensive organizational planning and agility. The persistent situation 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.


The worldwide COVID-19 outbreak is a persistent situation, requiring organizations to maintain continuity of operations in uncertain contexts and to establish revised, attainable business objectives.

Topics covered within this initiative include:

  • Prepare: Actions to establish organizational resilience, prioritize business functions, define recovery options, and mitigate or eliminate the impact of threat exploitation.

  • Respond: Actions needed to respond to a business disruption.

  • Recover: Actions to restart business functions and reorient to working in a changed environment.

  • Renew: Actions needed to rebuild for the “next normal.”

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Figure 1. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center Overview

The spread of the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19, which emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019 as an epidemic and then quickly spread and became a pandemic, is a clear indicator that companies need to prepare for, respond to and endure large-scale global disruptions. This dynamic situation, which over the course of months and likely a few years, has proven to be one of the most disruptive incidents in most everyone’s lifetime. Entire nations restricted daily travel and closed nonessential businesses, and organizations everywhere had to reassess core functions like employee travel, supply chain and event operations. We may see some of these actions reinstated by governments if people around the world do not follow medical expert advice about protecting themselves and others.

The situation has had numerous impacts on nearly every aspect of the economy, including investment activity, consumer behavior and remote work. For the first nine months of 2020, markets plunged, suggesting a short-term recession. All organizations have been disrupted as the pandemic unfolded, forcing them to strive for a better understanding of where their processes, systems and organizational structures have failed. Once the initial response and recovery actions were complete, leaders began determining 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 and renewal, 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 and essential role identification, facility usage, and third-party evaluations. Client concerns also include enterprise risk management, talent management, technology, product launch, go-to-market messaging, internal communications and more.

Our research covers the breadth of organizational roles, including the CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, CISO, supply chain/procurement, risk managers, HR leaders, legal and compliance leaders, marketing leaders, auditors and more. Our research also addresses the needs of technology service providers and the investors who help to bring new products and services to market.

Areas that we cover include:

  • Overall Pandemic Management Advice: The uncertain time frame of disease outbreaks means leaders should take a “people first” approach and regularly assess risk to 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: Organizations must manage a tremendous amount of new and regularly changing data about the pandemic in order to determine how their operations will be impacted and how and if they should continue, as well as coordinate the response and recovery to the pandemic across all organizational resources.

  • Technologies to Ensure Operations During a Crisis: Application leaders must create engaging experiences that connect content and technology to minimize the impact of social restrictions on staff, the organizational supply chain, service delivery, and the IT infrastructure including applications, IT services, the network, telecommunications and more, as well as to deliver compelling and successful events.

  • COVID-19’s Impact on the Supply Chain: Redefine objectives and strategies to attain reasonable delivery and efficiency targets and to 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 IT resilience against future disruptions, and to support the business changes required for rebounding and growth.

  • Secure Remote Access Advice: Leaders must address the changing enterprise needs as the digital workplace evolves and remote working becomes more common by providing strategies for effectively managing the remote worker as well as the technical resources needed for a secure and privacy-aware work environment.

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

  • 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 as well as creating greater demand for products and services to ensure operations continue running.

  • Gartner Invest Response to COVID-19: Uncertainties swirl around the potential impact the coronavirus will have on global spend. We highlight data surrounding past similar events.

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.


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.

The resources highlighted in Gartner Resource Center are organized by the phases required for a strong pandemic management approach.

Our research in this area addresses the following topics:


Organizations need to determine the activities to establish a governance structure for organizational resilience, prioritize business functions based on criticality, define recovery options, and mitigate or eliminate the impact of threat exploitation.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • How should I establish a governance structure and reporting cadence for ensuring resilience in my organization?

  • How do I prioritize business functions/processes and all associated resources (workforce, facilities, IT, third parties, equipment, etc.) based on risk and criticality to the organization?

  • How do I develop recovery strategies and solutions to mitigate the impact of threat exploits in existing operations and new projects?

  • How do I ensure my resilience solutions are current based on the changing organizational profile?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Predicts 2021: Organizational Resilience


To respond to disruptive events, like a pandemic, organizations need to identify the immediate actions and activities needed to respond to a business disruption via situational awareness, monitoring and recovery plan activation.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • What roles should my organization have in place in order to respond to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic?

  • How should I monitor the business disruption via situational awareness and recovery plan activation?

  • With whom do I communicate regarding the disruption, how often, and through which channels?

  • How do I balance loss of physical proximity with continued service delivery?

Planned Research
  • Forecast: Enterprise IT Spending for the Healthcare Provider Market, Worldwide, 2018-2024, 3Q20 Update

  • COVID-19 Support for Employees

  • Compensation Adjustments for Remote Workers

  • Changes to Expats’ Rewards as Result of the Pandemic


In order to recover from the impact of a pandemic, organizations will need to take actions to restart business functions via alternate work arrangements, and reorient to working in a changed environment.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • How should I restart business functions via alternate work arrangements and reorient to working in a changed environment?

  • What solutions should I have in place that provide end-to-end organizational operations visibility as well as situational monitoring of public health and economic conditions?

  • What solutions exist in the market that will enable my organization to utilize mechanisms to ensure employee health and safety and monitoring in the workplace?

  • What does the vaccine rollout mean for my organization? Are organizations requiring COVID-19 immunization for a return to the workplace?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Work Process Audit for a Hybrid Workforce

  • Market Guide for Virtual Private Networks (VPN)


Organizations need to evaluate the activities that will be needed to rebuild for the “next normal” created by the business disruption.

Questions Your Peers Are Asking
  • How do I monitor my changing business operations to endure a multimonth disruption?

  • How should I rebuild my workforce, facilities, leadership teams, and supply chains for the “new normal” created by the pandemic?

  • What new products/services can I bring to market to ensure long-term viability?

  • What are the key lessons learned and best practices, especially in the area of digital acceleration, and how can we apply in our organization?

Recommended Content
Planned Research
  • Summary Translation and Localization: Postpandemic Scenarios: The Future of Smart Cities

  • Summary Translation and Localization: 10 Things COVID-19 Will Change in Digital Commerce

Suggested First Steps

Essential Reading

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