A Message from SIIA

Interested in understanding how the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted our members, and what we at SIIA can do to be of help, we conducted a COVID-19 Business Issues Survey of active members across all Software & Information Industry Association divisions during April 2020.  We received nearly 400 responses from member companies of all sizes around the world. This thoughtful and detailed input is already informing our programming response to the COVID-19 pandemic and shaping new offerings.  I’m also happy to report that, more than two-thirds of total respondents noted that their team members have pulled together more than ever!

Watch your SIIA divisional newsletter in the coming weeks for more insights from the survey responses. Meanwhile, here are highlights of the findings:

Top business challenges facing members

  • Operating with reduced revenue
  • Marketing and selling during the pandemic
  • Maintaining employee health/safety
  • Navigating remote work best practices/tools
  • Planning for the future of events (in-person vs. virtual)
  • Preparing long-term revenue forecasts

Revision of financial forecasts

In most divisions, 60% or more of respondents expect a downward adjustment to their 2020 financial projection; in FISD, that percentage was lower (at just under 40%). Meanwhile, about one-third of respondents in most divisions have seen an increase in product demand. 

Future of work

While many have implemented furloughs and layoffs, more than one-third of members responding say their companies have taken actions to retain employees. Some see the shift to remote work during the pandemic as setting a new standard for the future of work, and are enabling permanent remote work options within their companies.

Both virtual and classic management skills are in high demand:

  • Top virtual skills needed include event management, learning/development, voice-over talent, remote group conferencing, remote selling, and remote work project management. At least half of respondents said their companies had started using new remote tools since March 1, 2020.
  • Classic management skills needed include adaptability, empathy, communication, creativity, crisis management, product development, marketing and customer support.

What members need now and for the future

“Peer success stories and innovations” was the universal favorite among programming topics that members need most during the pandemic and for the long term. Other top requests across divisions include:

  • Best practices development/promotion (overall and for remote work)
  • Insights on the future of the events industry
  • Advice for leading beyond the crisis
  • Virtual meetups with industry peers.

Our action items

  • Incorporating more peer success stories in event programming and newsletters going forward.
  • Increasing opportunities for divisional members to interact (e.g. virtual meetups, communities).
  • Collecting best practices wisdom on a wide range of topics, including remote work.
  • Enhancing industry news and competitive intelligence (e.g. status of industry players).
  • Offering resources and training related to virtual events leadership.
  • Evaluating new ways to connect vendors and purchasers within industries.

Plus, we’ve updated our SIIA COVID-19 Resources page to provide you with information, best practices and resources to help navigate the challenges and opportunities in the post-COVID world!  

We want to thank you again for your support of the COVID-19 Business Issues Survey, and encourage you to let us know how we can help you further in the coming months!             

Best regards,

Jeff Joseph