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Council Post: IT: As Important As Ever, Even In The Shadow Of A Recession

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Council Post: IT: As Important As Ever, Even In The Shadow Of A Recession

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Lauren Wickstead serves as TPx’s Chief Marketing Officer, responsible for driving growth and bolstering brand recognition for the company.

No one wants to ponder a looming recession, but the time to prepare for a storm is before it hits, not during. It’s similar to the approach crisis communicators take: Plan for the worst and hope it never comes to fruition.

A potential economic downturn has dominated recent headlines, and a Wall Street Journal survey of economists expects a recession will hit this year.

For organizations of all sizes, your communications team and your IT department will be critical in navigating whatever storms may be brewing. Too often, the temptation is to consider these functions separate cost centers rather than enablers of business.

The IT team is the glue that holds an organization together. It identifies the solutions that empower teams to work as a cohesive unit and deploys them in a way that doesn’t disrupt operations.

The opportunity is to make IT invisible—it’ll always be there, but it can’t be a roadblock to success. It must work when people need it and how they expect it to.

Every dollar counts.

Heading into a potential recession, most companies take steps to shore up their finances, and ongoing worries about the current high inflation have given those plans more urgency. That’s why so many companies have recently announced layoffs, and the trend will likely continue.

However, one of the biggest mistakes companies can make is thinking they can cut their IT spending as part of their efforts to reduce costs. That approach is penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Just look back to the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The IT team helped companies roll out the solutions that fostered cultures of collaboration.

But it’s also about mitigating the unseen, increasing cyber threats that are lurking. The threats facing businesses have taken on a new urgency over the past couple of years, and most predictions indicate these threats will increase in the months and years ahead.

Without the right IT approach, companies are susceptible to threat actors. Falling victim to an attack is a costly affair. While it’s hard to calculate the precise cost, it will likely exceed the outlay to bolster security, making it imperative for companies to consider the bigger picture when weighing changing course.

The right technology increases efficiency.

At the pandemic’s start, companies worried about how working from home would impact productivity. What many organizations discovered is that their teams could not only maintain productivity but increase it with access to the right IT.

The pandemic is a case study of how the right technology can help teams increase their efficiency and agility. When that happens, they will improve outcomes.

Preparing for a potential recession provides companies with the opportunity to fix or replace the unsatisfactory portions of their IT stacks. Many companies found during the pandemic that the solutions they opted to implement didn’t work for their organizations. So they were stuck trying to make a solution work that they didn’t need or want simply because they purchased it.

The pandemic made organizations nimbler, and that’s a lesson we should internalize moving forward. We don’t have to stand by decisions we made under duress; we have to change as the business landscape does.

As leaders look to rework their investments, they need to critically reassess their teams’ technology. They should double down on those solutions that work and eliminate those that don’t; there’s no need to try to force solutions into the IT stack if it doesn’t make sense.

Consider outsourcing if it makes business sense.

Companies don’t have to go it alone. Considering the ongoing difficulties in sourcing, hiring and retaining talent, companies should consider onboarding a partner who makes IT easy.

Doing so can allow companies to focus on their core businesses, which is imperative in uncertain times. But all partners are not created equally. The key to sourcing a third-party partner is to find an organization that shares a company’s values and can deliver the wide range of solutions modern-day business necessitates. Companies need a partner that handles all aspects of a business—from cloud communications to networking to cybersecurity—and can take immediate, proactive action.

One of the benefits of a good third-party technology partner is that they have their pulse on the industry. They understand the latest solutions and threats and can help make recommendations that make sense for an organization.

A downturn isn’t a foregone conclusion.

While the evidence may point toward an economic downturn, it’s important to remember that no one can predict the economy with certainty. But that doesn’t mean companies shouldn’t prepare; doing so will help in the long term, even if there is no downturn.

Again, in crisis communications, we continually prepare for the worst-case scenario. If it doesn’t come to fruition, we don’t regret the time spent preparing; instead, we know we are prepared for what might come next.

Sometimes, it’s challenging to consider the bigger picture as we prepare for the immediate future. But organizations must consider how what they implement today will impact their operations tomorrow, akin to how they communicate will advance their strategic priorities.

Don’t overlook how technology can provide savings in the long term. Technology isn’t static, so it’s critical that any technology can grow with an organization as it emerges from a recession.

Do you think you have the right communications plan and technology to weather the storm?


Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?


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