In a time of crisis, it’s easy to feel like the world is bearing down on you. What about the plans you had? Goals you set? Why did this have to happen, now, to you? These initial reactions are natural—but we can’t allow them to linger.

The way through a crisis is to stay proactive, creative, and nimble. We have to start playing offense. A shift in perspective can get the wheels turning, thoughts churning, and teams moving towards new goals. IT leaders have the unique power to lead organizations out of the pit of despair and into the pit of success. It’s about focusing on strategic programs that can deliver huge value now and when the crisis is over. It’s ok to keep moving, it’s ok to think about your future, while being sensitive to the situation at hand. If we make plans now to come out of this stronger, we’ll all be better off for it.

Shifting into a resourceful mindset better equips you to tackle ongoing challenges. For IT leaders, this means building up tool kits: Investing in a scalable cloud strategy, ramping up runtime, strengthening delivery pipelines and building more agile development teams and processes. We’re hearing from an increasing number of our partners and clients who are challenging themselves in this time to find new solutions and step up their performance. When the business side has to take a beat and re-orient, software teams can step up and bring value-add capabilities to the forefront. Those “long view” projects that always take a back seat to the organization’s “right now” needs can actually get some attention.

The following playbook of actions is designed to help you make the shift from crisis-management into resourcefulness. By focusing on these strategic initiatives, you can put your organization on the offense quickly—delivering immediate value, empowering teams, and preparing your organization for the future. Each paves a path forward, challenges reactive responses, and supports ongoing, intentional growth:

1. Build better business insights

Several business leaders we’ve talked to recently have been surprised by how much they relied on word-of-mouth and face-to-face meetings to know what was happening within their business and on their teams. What they’ve realized they need now are rich, interactive reporting solutions that can serve as a single source of truth for both customer and employee insights. Building accessible and actionable IT resiliency dashboards lets you monitor key metrics of IT and Business Application Services. Embedding those dashboards directly into your applications has never been easier, especially if you’re building on top of Microsoft’s Power BI technologies. Some of our recent clients have seen 10x reductions in new report delivery time—without having to add new data analysts or report builders to their staffs.

2. Map your successful cloud migration

The sudden shift to a completely distributed work environment has driven home (pun intended) the importance of securing widespread access to business-critical software. Establishing a clear roadmap now for migrating more of your applications and workloads to the cloud can yield quick wins: reduced operating costs, reduced downtime, and faster deployments. And of course, being primed to rapidly scale capacity and performance back up when we come out of this crisis is going to be equally important.

3. Prepare for a productive .NET 5 transition

Microsoft is releasing .NET 5 in just a few months [[UPDATE: Now with the .NET 6 release slated for Nov. 2021, a lot of these prep tips still apply!]]. This will open up exciting opportunities for both your Dev and your Ops teams in terms of improving runtime—in some benchmarks, a single core process was able to process over seven million requests per second. But in order to reap the benefits, you need to be prepared and stay productive during the coming transition. If you’re not already running your applications on .NET Core 3.1, migrating now is the best thing you can do to get ahead of the Fall release. Being proactive means porting your applications early and limiting risk by taking some key steps throughout the next few months that will keep you from experiencing interruptions to your business.

4. Enhance experiences on the front-end

Consumer web and mobile apps are driving expectations from business application users as to what their workday experience should be. As a progressive IT leader, you need to focus on delivering a modern front-end experience—perhaps in the form of a seamless, responsive single-page application—that meets these rising needs. Making an informed decision on the technology stack you’ll employ is a critical step one. The new Blazor WebAssembly project, for example, brings a single, consistent language and runtime (C# and .NET core) to both your server-side and client-side code. But based on how your teams are structured, you might be more suited to Javascript or others. (We’re happy to discuss and share with you what we’ve learned about the benefits and adoption of different front-end frameworks).

5. Deliver faster with DevOps

Runtime and DevOps are foundational frameworks to work on now in order to support business models and accelerate digital transformation going forward. Application Lifecycle Management tools have improved exponentially in the last few years, especially ones that unify their build and deploy capabilities. If your business is leery of moving mission-critical production software out of the datacenter, then migrating your CI/CD pipelines can be a great way to automate a fast, repeatable channel for building, packaging, versioning, testing, and deploying your business applications. It’s like giving your teams superpowers! Being resourceful means taking the time to build agility, so that you can shift to shipping new features hourly instead of annually.

As you move out of the initial phases of fear and reactivity, you can become aware of those responses and embrace a more active approach to finding solutions that empower your organization. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and your teams in the process: Taking action requires taking stock—of where you are, where you’ve been, and where you need to be. Author Jocko Willink recommends a technique called “disengaging”: Taking a step back and observing what’s happening from a different angle. What you can see “one step back, and slightly elevated” is really different from what you see on the front lines. That’s where an outside perspective comes in: An honest and comprehensive assessment of your teams, tools, technologies, and tactics will help orient and guide you towards actions that make the most difference in the short and long term. We can help you create that playbook.

Are you ready to embrace resourcefulness? Email [email protected] to find out how you ramp up your capabilities to tackle today and tomorrow.

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