Jul 01, 2020 digital transformation

Leadership in the Post–COVID-19 World

By Gareth Noyes

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COVID-19 forced a choice in viewpoints, between transformation and survival. But there is one common belief: More will now be asked of us as leaders in embedded, DevSecOps, and development.

At some point we will all exit the COVID-19 era. What the new normal will look like is something we are all thinking hard about, especially in the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China. Wind River research conducted in mid and late April shows a fairly even split between leaders looking to transform because of the pandemic and those focused simply on surviving it. It is clear, however, that in either case the role of technology leaders will become more important after COVID-19.

In both the U.S. and China, 53% of technology leaders recognize that their work will become significantly more important post COVID-19. Ideas previously considered interesting or experimental now will demand more focus. Technology leaders in the U.S. are half as likely as their peers in China to see their power as transformative. However, C-suite respondents in the U.S. are 70% more likely to see themselves as having power to bring about transformative change than their Chinese peers in similar industries.

What this tells us is that, as technology leaders, we need to better connect with our business leaders and be prepared to explain why and how cloud development, AI, and 5G should become integral to the corporation’s core strategy for differentiation. This is a golden moment when experiments and natural migrations toward such digital transformation can open up a new world of possibilities.

If you are in a technology leadership role and aim to increasingly connect your embedded systems to your corporation’s wider sets of digital data through the edge, ask yourself: How can I team with the IT DevOps functions to foster wider collaboration and lead more effectively in a post–COVID-19 world? As technologists, we will go further together than by trying to lead alone.


From mid to late April 2020, Wind River® researched beliefs, strategies, and forward projections among technology (embedded, IT, security, and cloud) leaders in five major industries (telecom, aviation, medical industries, automotive, and industrial manufacturing) in China and the USA. Further analysis, the report, and infographics are available at www.windriver.com/covid19-industry-impact/.

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