When faced with the COVID-19 crisis earlier this year, Adobe’s IT organization, like many others, acted quickly to shift the entire company to a work-from-home situation. For us that meant moving the entire Adobe workforce of more than 22,000 global employees over a single weekend. The pandemic also forced us to focus more critically on such things as collaboration strategies, security, and the employee experience during these challenging times.
Fortunately, while COVID-19 is unique, I have previous experience with this type of challenge and I know the importance of contingency and scenario planning to prepare the IT organization to react to uncertainties. During the SARS coronavirus outbreak in 2003, which spread across two dozen countries in a matter of months before it was contained, I was CIO at a Singaporean shipping line where employees also had to rapidly shift to working from home while continuing to support customers. During the Fall 2018 California fires, I worked with my Adobe team to develop a new set of scenario plans in case we couldn’t get into our San Jose headquarters. Thankfully, there was no need to execute those plans, but it proved to be a valuable exercise for what was to come this year and enabled my team to act quickly when the reality of COVID-19 became apparent.