Blog post

How Tech CEOs Redirect to New Realities

By Rene Buest | July 02, 2020 | 0 Comments

Corporate Development for Tech CEOs

COVID-19 is still a ubiquitous topic dominating the strategies of CEOs leading small and midsize technology and service providers. In Gartner’s recent Tech CEO Research Circle survey “Redirect to New Realities” we explored how tech CEO’s are beginning to turn back to normal – and making both short- and long-term changes – following the impacts brought on by COVID-19.

Figure 1 Redirect to New Realities Pivot Forward Phase 2

Redirect to New Realities – Pivot Forward Phase 2

A need to stabilize operations following the implementation of public health or other restrictions signals the beginning of Phase 2. In Phase 1, the company responded to external events that disrupted customers, operations, strategies and plan.

In Phase 2, it’s time to redirect the focus and resources in light of new realities. The market is still in decline, with customers reducing spending to conserve cash. In the face of those pressures, it’s time to change the organization to achieve two goals: to remain financially and operationally viable, and to improve its position for the future recovery. Redirecting to new realities requires tech CEOs to take the following major actions:

  • Generate revenue through redefinition and focus: Concentrate on earning as much revenue as feasible by redefining current products and services to be consistent with new customer and buyer realities and priorities.
  • Define the organization’s ambition: Set a new “north star” to lead the organization forward, assess progress and make future decisions.
  • Reallocate the portfolio and product investments: Redirect operations and investments in response to these realities, and reassign resources for the new products needed for when demand recovers.

This phase starts as soon as the organization has regained its operational footing. This phase ends with the initial recovery of customers and their renewed demand for new solutions. This could take a few months to a few financial quarters. The end of the phase is not the end of the recession, but the beginning of the recovery. (Gartner clients can read more at “Pivot Forward: Redirect to New Realities, Phase 2”)

How Are Tech CEOs Redirecting to New Realities?

The majority of tech CEOs report that their organization has implemented the following operational changes as a result of COVID-19:

  • Added/increased remote work: 90% (35% are implementing short-term, while 55% plan to implement long-term)
  • Adjusting sales model towards remote selling: 84% (39% are implementing short-term, while 45% plan to implement long-term)
  • Adding/Increasing flexible working hours: 81% (39% are implementing short-term, while 42% plan to implement long-term)

While a third (32%) have made no changes to their offerings, about a third have created new products (39%), adjusted pricing to existing products (32%), and/or added free trials (29%) to better meet customer needs.

A majority of tech CEOs report they have adapted their demand generation efforts to put greater focus on existing customers (55%). When it comes to new clients, over half (55%) of tech CEOs report that they are more precisely targeting a specific prospect type.

Based on lessons learned during the crisis, many tech CEOs have made mid- and long-term strategic changes to focus on existing and new clients as well as to their policies around employees and remote work.

Do you agree? What short- and long-term changes did you make so far? Join the discussion with your tech CEO peers and Gartner analysts in our Gartner Tech CEO Research Circle here:

If you are searching for more guidance, Gartner has composed a collection of resources and complimentary research on how to protect your people, maintain operations and sustain your organization during the pandemic and beyond. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center.

About Tech CEO Research Circle

Gartner Tech CEO Research Circle is an exclusive, non-subscription community of leaders in small or medium technology and service provider businesses. The topics covered provide a distinctive view into the unique challenges, needs, and strategies of tech CEOs.

Members interact with Gartner on a range of developing research top-of-mind for tech CEOs, including product strategy, customer acquisition, business performance management, and corporate development.

– – –

If you want to engage with me, feel free to schedule an inquiry call (, book a vendor briefing (, follow me on Twitter (@ReneBuest) or connect with me on LinkedIn.

I am looking forward to talking to you!

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Leave a Comment