The pandemic has irrevocably changed the way businesses everywhere operate, crystallizing the link between a robust IT infrastructure and business continuity. According to a survey of IT professionals from Insight Enterprises, only 24% of businesses were able to adapt to the new environment with no downtime, while 56% said 2 or fewer weeks of downtime.
The report further reveals that 46% of IT professionals felt extremely or very prepared to pivot to the new business landscape.
Consequently, businesses could be more proactive about involving IT in contingency planning: 40% of survey respondents reported having to develop or refine business resiliency plans in response to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has delivered a crash course in agility for organizations of all stripes,” said Mike Gaumond, senior vice president and general manager, Connected Workforce at Insight.
“The pandemic accelerated the long-brewing shift from an on-site to dispersed workforce and forced companies to reckon with their technology shortfalls. The businesses that have adapted successfully are the ones that kept an eye on the horizon.”
You cannot enable remote work without managing it, as well
About half (49%) of survey respondents said their IT priorities were very impacted by the pandemic. When asked to share their top priorities before and after the pandemic, although equipping remote workers has been an essential initiative, managing that infrastructure grew in importance more than other priorities for IT professionals.
However, no IT initiative took precedence over security – half of respondents cited improving data and network security and recovery as a top 3 priority both before and after COVID-19.
Technology will be central to employee safety today and tomorrow
Just as technology – and the professionals charged with managing it – has been essential to helping employees stay connected and productive during extended stay-at-home orders, it also will play a critical role in bringing employees back into the workplace.
According to the survey, IT departments are very focused on investing in technologies that will help protect employee health:
- 58% plan to invest in smart personal hygiene devices, such as connected hand sanitizer stations
- 36% plan to invest in contactless sensors
- 35% plan to invest in infrared thermometers
- 25% plan to invest in thermal cameras
In addition, one-third said they are considering an Internet of Things ecosystem that allows them to aggregate and analyze all of the inputs they gather from these devices.
In today’s new normal, 79% expect IT to take on a greater role within their organization than prior to the pandemic. 65% believe their company is now “very” or “extremely prepared” to handle a situation similar to COVID-19 from an IT perspective. Yet 65% cited business continuity planning or the ability to work remotely as their biggest lesson learned from the impact of COVID-19.
“Now that the initial shock has passed, enterprises are starting to think about how to re-establish a sense of routine. Are the changes they made a few months ago right for their organization moving forward, or do they need to re-evaluate how to shore up new vulnerabilities, improve efficiencies and reduce expenses in the long run?” said Matt Jackson, VP, Digital Innovation at Insight.
“Making continued investments in ‘what’s next’ – from AI to virtual workspaces – has only taken on heightened importance in this new world of digital engagement.”