After the Pandemic: IT Leaders Discuss What Will Change

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Expect massive investment in skills and systems modernization: What is increasingly apparent is that our current technology infrastructure wasn’t maintained to handle this kind of crisis. In most cases, the actual computers are doing their job well, but decades of neglect have created situations where the software hasn’t been upgraded or IT professionals haven’t been properly trained. As we move out of the immediate crisis phase into the recovery, I’m expecting to see a massive investment in skills and systems modernization as everyone realizes that keeping technology current isn’t a luxury. What’s interesting— and encouraging—to me is that banks, hospitals, and other organizations that rely on legacy systems are experiencing very few issues as a result of increased demand. Unfortunately, governments (including the IRS and several U.S. states) are having problems—which all goes back to a lack of training and modernization for their legacy systems. The other major issue to address will be end-to-end networking. In the last month, everyone has been on video calls with jerky images and glitchy audio. We need to upgrade both the internet infrastructure and how tools use it. Matt Deres, CIO of Rocket Software

Emphasis on a modern, agile—and cost-efficient—IT infrastructure: One of the first reactions to the pandemic and its uncertain economic effects was to find a way to reduce costs. Many companies discovered their legacy IT infrastructure limiting and lacking the agility to meet urgent business needs. In response, companies are turning to the cloud for its inherent flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to scale up and down as business requires. We foresee hybrid and multi-cloud data management emerging with new importance post-pandemic. In addition, data end users such as analysts and data scientists need real-time, self-service access to data to make fast decisions that have a significant impact and, as a result, companies are reconsidering how they manage and govern their data. We predict DataOps will continue to grow and become the data management best practice for providing true data agility.  And as companies adjust to a remote working model and make the move to cloud, security will be more important than ever. A modern and agile IT infrastructure and a solid data management foundation will be key for future success during times of crisis where timeframes are condensed and projects are mission-critical. — Ben Sharma, Founder and Chief Product Officer of Zaloni

More flexibility, leading to greater resilience: Agility is critical to keeping operations running smoothly during this pandemic and when we return to our new normal. While it may seem like there is little reason to hope that something good will come out of this, it has highlighted the resiliency of individuals and businesses to find new methods of operating. IT has a strong hand in business success as it has become core to creating effective remote workforces while ensuring security and regulatory compliance for data. Businesses will be more resilient in the future and able to bounce back from any issues by learning from today’s pandemic and bringing these lessons to life when working on updating or creating a new resiliency plan. —  Jamie Zajac, VP of Product Management, Carbonite, an OpenText Company

Greater clarity about what's really important to the business: During these unprecedented times, it is normal for business-critical applications like contact center and outage management to come under tremendous pressure and for businesses to respond to unexpected loads on an emergency basis. In the long run, we feel that companies will identify the processes and applications that are critical to their continued operation. We expect that these applications will increasingly become part of the internal and external audits for risk and compliance purposes. We also expect enterprises to then invest in making those applications robust and scalable so that they continue to operate smoothly during normal times as well as when a “new normal” emerges on the scene.  We believe this will require businesses to migrate their mission-critical applications on a platform that can continue to scale-out as the load increases on these applications. Monte Zweben, CEO of Splice Machine

An engaged, resilient, dedicated workforce is indispensable: From an IT perspective, COVID-19 exposed the gaps in our preparedness for a situation that had been a predicted eventuality for over a decade. From a company perspective, we are re-learning the very basic lesson that an engaged, resilient, dedicated workforce is indispensable to meeting the kind of challenge that will confront us again at some point in the future. If we invest the time to absorb these lessons, there is indeed reason for hope that we will recover from this dislocation, rebuild our organizations in more productive and equitable ways, and be better prepared for the next 'unexpected" crisis.' Neil Lieberman, Head of Marketing U.S., Poppulo

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