How We Can Emerge Stronger From the COVID-19 Crisis

Terri White
March 20, 2020

I saw it yesterday on the corner of St. Marks and 2nd Avenue in NYC. An elbow bump between two young guys saying goodbye to each other before going on their solitary ways. Like they’ve been doing it for years.

It occurred to me that this is but one, tiny example of how the world will be transformed by this current Coronavirus pandemic and the effects of quarantines and social distancing. To keep myself from being overwhelmed by panic, I have been looking for silver linings everywhere. What good will come from this? What habits will we break and what lessons will we learn?

I see good deeds happening everywhere. But not only that – I see creativity and innovation springing up like the Spring daffodils, those bright yellow harbingers of hope.

I see good deeds happening everywhere. But not only that – I see creativity and innovation springing up like the Spring daffodils, those bright yellow harbingers of hope. What about those magnificent Italians and Spaniards singing in the streets? Teachers reinventing learning models and setting up virtual classrooms in a matter of days. Restaurants re-fitting themselves overnight to operate take-out and cocktails to go (thank you very much!) Yoga and Pilates instructors offering online sessions – the most fun I’ve ever had on a Zoom meeting for sure. Musicians live-streaming and people conducting their own “talk shows” on Facebook.

So many problem-solvers and creators out there! It’s reassuring to witness all the ingenuity, kindness, and determination to keep living in the most connected way we can.

Here at Information Builders, we’ve all seamlessly switched over to remote working and haven’t missed a beat. We are ensuring our customers’ operations are uninterrupted and their needs fully supported as CIOs everywhere grapple with extra stress on their systems and networks.

Our customers are responding in innovative ways, too, and we’re proud to be part of their success. The CFO at Sound Credit Union recently gave his perspective on how they are using data and analytics to respond to the family financial impact of COVID-19. Check it out.

This week has made me appreciate how important it is to stay focused on big goals and be productive. Not only does it help keep the anxiety at bay, but it also feels good to dive deep into research and learning as you tackle those larger initiatives. A great article in McKinsey summed it up in a piece on the CIO’s moment to lead in this crisis: “CIOs should stay committed to broader transformation goals they’ve been leading such as programs on data, cloud, and agile. Cloud migration provides the flexibility to manage the current spikes and changing employee and customer needs rapidly and cost effectively. The goal for CIOs is to emerge from this not having just 'managed' the crisis but being stronger because of it.”

Here at Information Builders, we’re doing our part to help our customers be responsive and agile in extraordinary times. One prime example of how we do this is our ability to access, integrate, and visualize data. With Coronavirus, there are numerous public data sources that could be easily integrated with enterprise data in healthcare and other sectors. For example, human capital management, emergency management dashboards, and even mapping components that depict the location of employees could be enhanced and enriched with reputable, public data sources that provide real-time updates. You could access and connect that data, and get answers that help you move fast on whatever corporate decisions needed to be made, and even harmonize or mash it up with other data sources to get yet further insights.

Another example is our ability to deliver information – reports, analytics, dashboards, data insights – in any way our customers want it. So if a CIO didn’t want to burden the network, he or she could distribute “in-document analytics” via e-mail that employees could interact with even when disconnected from a network. And, of course, being cloud-first enables our cloud customers to drive innovation in a secure environment, without worrying about infrastructure.

With so many people experiencing loss and hardship, the most important thing is that we all do our parts – at work, in our communities, and with our friends and family – to lift each other up in ways big or small, technical or emotional. It will also take every one of us who is able to #stayhome and minimize the impact of this pandemic.

One thing is for sure: We’re not going to be the same after this. Some things will change out of fear, like the hand shake to the elbow bump. But I believe we’ll also emerge stronger, more connected to each other and to the earth, and ready to build a better future.

Stay well everyone!