2021 Tech Trends

Thriving through disruptive change.
Creating new options from disruptive effects

Dawn of the Post-COVID-19 Era

2020 ends with the world looking forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic while still grappling with the disruptive changes the virus caused to all facets of society.

Businesses were forced to accelerate their digital transformation plans to maintain operations. The economic fallout of restrictive lockdown measures meant that the digital channel was the only customer touchpoint available. Organizations that couldn’t adapt either put operations on pause or shut their doors permanently.

Driven by demand, many technology trends accelerated. Machine learning algorithms continued to improve, Internet of Things (IoT) devices became more numerous, infrastructure needs shifted quickly, and data-driven business operations multiplied.

System and environment shocks

The rapid changes to the market environment following the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic illustrate how external events can disrupt business. Governments reacted by imposing lockdown measures that meant many businesses couldn’t open their physical locations, and even where they could, they still faced a situation in which consumer confidence was shaken. People either chose to avoid public places because of health concerns or restricted their spending due to an uncertain job market.

Many organizations responded by relying on technologically mediated environments to continue operations. Employees met from their homes via videoconference, students used online learning management systems to complete their school curriculum, and governments rushed to put more services online.

Reinventing value propositions

With technology playing a key role for all organizations just to maintain daily activities, IT was thrust into a critical function. No longer was the IT department supporting capabilities lower down the value stream – it was now core to delivering on the organization’s value proposition.

Given the transitional period that’s likely ahead, with the pandemic coming to an end and with all the other externalities that could disrupt operations, IT’s role remains critical. Organizations that want to avoid disruption from the next crisis will need IT to support capabilities to plan for change and learn quickly. IT must focus on accelerating speed to value and enable flexibility and rapid redeployment of resources.

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2021 IT Talent Trend Report

2020 volatility forced IT leaders to change the ways of work and how they manage talent

In March 2020, many organizations were forced to switch to a virtual working world. IT enabled organizations to be successful while working from home. Ultimately, this shift changed the way that we all work and in turn, the way IT leaders manage talent. Many organizations are considering long-term remote work (Kelly, 2020).

In addition, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become a greater priority for organizations as a result of events related to social justice inequities. This has broadened the awareness worldwide about subjects like, but not limited to, anti-Black racism and has pushed organizations to show their DEI efforts (Chan & DiMauro, 2020).

Due to the shift in the way we work, there have been changes in the IT department. What are we seeing now and what can we expect for the IT talent of the future?

Pandemic changes force leaders to “get” positive impact of employee experience.

And a good employee experience is what’s best for the IT department
Right now, IT departments are becoming more aware of employee needs and their overall experience at work. Largely, organizations are focused on the impact of the pandemic on the employee experience. We anticipate that this awareness will prepare IT departments to thrive moving forward through to a post-pandemic world.

Change is starting but is lagging. The data shows IT is changing in the area of talent management. IT has a large role in enabling organizations to work from home, especially from a technological and logistics perspective. There is evidence to show that they are now migrating to also expanding their role to better support employees when working from home. Survey respondents identified efforts already underway for IT to improve employee experience, and subsequently, IT effectiveness.

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