How Can IT Sector Step-Up Its Game Through COVID-19?
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to climb every day. With no cure nor vaccine in sight, leaders and expert groups across the globe are worried if the damages will soon become permanent. Leaders are exploring a broad range of interrelated issues that range from ensuring the employees’ and customers’ safety, shoring-up cash, and liquidity, revamping operations, and navigating intricate government support programs. We are now staring at a recession, where economic output in the second quarter is also going to shrink. While investors expected the bull market to continue, growth for FY21 will be sharply lower. Several industries are on the brink of going out of business, employees being either laid off or fired. Meanwhile, IT professionals are working from home to maintain social distancing protocols.
And why not? As companies are caught in a dilemma whether to open their factory units, the IT industry must be ready to survive by adapting to these changes. This sector cannot depend on the probability that things may get better if they wait for the COVID-19 pandemic to be over. The market does not rely on previous day episodes in the long run.
What is happening?
To restrict the spread of the COVID-19 and avoid the risk of getting COVID-19, people might have to work from home (WFH) for more months now. Even though WFH provides unique advantages to the employers and employees, it posed significant challenges for IT.
People are slowly getting habituated to this changed lifestyle. This implies that instead of typical 9-6 work hours, they are now engaged with their office 24/7. To make this possible, IT must make sure it has everything to synchronized manner for smooth operation and functioning from the residential quarters. It has to be ready for every possibility of issues the employees might face regarding their work. For instance, such concerns can be about poor network issues, computer breaking down even during non-working hours, secure VPN services, and so on.
WFH also means that irrespective of the business scale, companies are soon going to cut down their office spaces. This move is also financially logical if one can work from remote setups. With worrying about space, building rents, and insurance out of the equation, all the employees need to worry about is having effective communication with their teams, supervisors, and trainees. That is when IT and technology come into play.
What does this suggest?
Well for starters, IT needs to level up a notch. If the company runs an MSP or even internal IT, priority has to be on the extraction of problems with solutions directed towards making the lives of the working class easier. To illustrate this point, think of a scenario where employees are given access to a VPN or particular internet setup that is non-functional or full of network glitches in reality. Here the employees need a high speed, zero buffering connection to have smooth working experience. This is where IT solutions must focus on.
Additionally, the company needs to invest in a centralized cloud platform to store data, continue operations, reliable user experience, all at a lower cost. The cloud platform also aids in running organizational work effortlessly throughout the year. Along with it, corporate help desks are to be established, MSPs will need to either hire up or outsource their help desk, and every vendor in between will be weighed more heavily based on their hours of operation. Plus WFH also demands around the clock availability. Every factor has to be carefully examined and considered to stay in the market competition despite the lockdown measures due to COVID-19.
As pointed out earlier, cloud services will gain momentum. Cloud vendors will continue offering their services at lower costs for upkeep so that even smaller businesses can afford them. Management and IT team will have to put greater emphasis on VPNs.
Although help desks will gain importance, companies will need a good number of workers to manage them. This is because one cannot know when something unexpected may happen, and the company does not have enough resources to handle it. A minor outage can quickly snowball into a major storm of tickets, especially if it’s the equivalent of tax season for accountants in many industries. Hence, to deal with such sudden shortcoming companies need to hire more technicians who can work outside the office hours and not just at peak times. Just because one is occupied in WFH doesn’t mean the company’s contractual obligations change. Though On-call is the traditional way of handling this, it’s a quick way to burn out the staff without higher compensation or balance.
Other than the above, an excellent remote access platform is a necessity too. The chosen platform can affect how the leaders or team-managers administer the work environment. One must consider features such as security, usability, and ability to match the help desk requirements when choosing an RMM solution. Further one needs to carefully think about how the solution can be used to assist people working from home from their own machine. A free RMM can seem an easy option, but it might be unsafe while carrying out automated tasks. So, it is better to check for consumption-based solutions to have access to more specialized resources. Both MSPs and internal IT are benefitted from such type of help desk offerings.