James McQuivey, VP and Principal Analyst, Stephanie Balaouras, VP and Group Director, Andrew Bartels, VP and Principal Analyst

Show Notes:

The impact of the coronavirus and COVID-19 on businesses is changing almost daily. From employee absences to supply chain disruptions to plunging financial markets, businesses across the globe are scrambling to respond to the issue without overreacting. In this special three-part episode of What It Means, Forrester analysts discuss how the coronavirus is impacting businesses and what can be done to minimize the long-term effects.

In the first segment, VP and Principal Analyst James McQuivey and VP and Group Director Stephanie Balaouras discuss the latest results of Forrester’s ongoing PandemicEX survey that’s tracking the impact of COVID-19 on the employee experience. The analysts discuss the initial results, which show that only 43% of organizations have a plan for dealing with coronavirus and that 29% of employees polled are afraid to go to work due to the risk of exposure to the virus.

In the second segment, Balaouras provides guidance on developing and activating a response plan for the coronavirus, focusing on how it should differ from other business continuity plans. For example, in many continuity plans, the CIO may be leading the effort to focus on the risk of an IT systems outage. But for COVID-19, Balaouras says, “You definitely want to put your head of HR in charge of the response, because so much of what you’re going to implement is going to be about policies, as opposed to technology.”

In the third segment, VP and Principal Analyst Andrew Bartels provides the latest information and outlook on the impact to global geographies and specific industries. In the tech market specifically, Bartels says CIOs may have to push out spending and project plans if technology suppliers and internal IT teams are impacted further.

In short, any long-term planning will be difficult until the duration of this pandemic is better known. If things get worse, spending and supply across a variety of markets could drop off. But if the spread of the disease is contained and fears subside, markets could see a significant uptick.