Africa: How Critical Is Tech Leadership in Uncertain Times?

In times like these, technology leaders are often in a battle of wits. They do not always know where to place their focus. What should they be doing to mitigate risks? Or to resolve urgent issues? And what about preparing themselves for the 'new normal' of tomorrow?

Picture this, there is a vehicle race going on. The cars are barreling down the track and it is raining heavily. The cars, at scorchingly fast speeds, approach a sharp bend, as they near the bend, some of the cars lose traction and roll off the track, crashing into the barriers and burning. Other cars, accelerate through the bend and manage to keep racing. This is the environment we are in now, the tech world is the wet track, COVID-19 is the rain, and the racing cars are tech businesses.

The use of cutting edge technology can be described as a buoyant raft, carrying the world across tumultuous waters.

"Balancing risk informed decisions with digital dependency is an important aspect of business continuity." Explains Tarek Abbas, SE Director MEA, Palo Alto Networks. Showing that in a difficult environment, leaders need to resist the impulse to adopt a defensive pose and instead shift their weight onto their digital processes. They must instead take actions that will position their organisation for success.

"We are noticing increased cloud adoption, and an increased level of digitisation during the pandemic." adds Abbas. Leaders -- being humans -- are wired such that they have difficulty coping with uncertainty. When these different sources of uncertainty occur at once, exacerbating one another, the level of general emotional uncertainty rises. Luckily, as far as business continuity is concerned, digitisation does not incur problems through emotional uncertainty. "Disaster recovery and planning will make sure the services remain running." concludes Abbas.

This crisis enveloping the world is undoubtedly having an impact on the way we work moving forward. Even before COVID-19, offering flexible work/life balance was becoming increasingly necessary to attract and retain talent. Current events are only going to fuel this trend, and organisations will need their technology stack - collaboration tools, video conferencing, and work automation - to support a distributed labour force on a longer-term basis.

But as companies acclimate to this new way of working, they also need to make sure they have the processes in place to manage their workforce. When some semblance of normality returns, the right technology applied in the right architecture will be critical to ensuring we're all able to adapt to whatever that 'new normal' looks like.


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