The pandemic pivot: IT leaders innovate on the fly

Already accustomed to moving quickly, CIOs are testing and scrapping new solutions to accommodate customers. Their work could provide blueprints for future innovation.

The pandemic pivot: IT leaders innovate on the fly
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As the coronavirus forced Aspen Dental Management to shutter its offices in March, the company quickly moved to connect patients with doctors virtually.

But a problem cropped up: Many patients didn't care for Aspen’s self-service telemedicine portal. "For the most part, they abandoned it, so we said this is not going to work," says Yogish Suvarna, CIO of Aspen Dental Management, which provides business services for more than 830 offices.

The solution? Aspen quickly added call center representatives to broker virtual care sessions between patients and doctors. Problem solved.

Pivots such as Aspen’s are playing out all over the world as the coronavirus roils industries forcing organizations to adapt more quickly to satisfy customer preferences, as well as technical and business hurdles.

Rapid-fire digital solutions built in sprints provides a schema for how IT organizations operate going forward, says David Clarke, digital strategy and innovation leader at PwC, adding that IT leaders should view the pandemic as a digital accelerator rather than a deterrent. Seventy-eight percent of CFOs PwC polled in July said they cut investments, though only 17 percent say those cuts extend to digital transformation, Clarke says.

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