Throughout the pandemic, IT pros have more than proven their value to the organisations they serve. According to this year’s IT Pro Day survey, an inspiring 64% of IT pros are feeling confident about their role and purpose within their organisation, thanks to their essential role in keeping business continuity throughout the pandemic.
Some IT pros may be working longer hours, managing heavier workloads with fewer resources, but they also hold more sway at top decision-making tables. As the foremost experts in the hybridised infrastructure and applications today’s businesses rely on, over 40% think they will see greater inclusion at top-level meetings. Some 46% feel their ideas would be better valued by management. And 58% feel better prepared to steer their companies through similar storms in the future.
All this is great news because appreciation for IT is way overdue. But there’s also a looming opportunity for IT to establish even greater value in the coming months and cement their position as indispensable experts within their organisations.
How Can IT Pros Retain Their Momentum?
Businesses everywhere are shifting to recovery mode, hoping to recoup losses and regain customers before year’s end. And most are turning to digital technologies to bridge the path to their post-pandemic goals. “Nice-to-have” solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) and automation will see greater adoption to support a much leaner workforce, while the growing preference for cashless payments amongst consumers will send businesses scrambling to adopt the tech stack required to make digital transactions work.
Just as they did during the pandemic, IT pros will once again have to adapt to evolving circumstances. When the fate of most recovering businesses—and the employees working there—teeters at a precarious edge, IT pros have the responsibility to ensure digital moves and investments are done intelligently and strategically.
Their newfound influence should help drive these conversations around digital transformation, correcting assumptions and validating tech purchases. And they should also take the opportunity presented by present conditions to optimise internal processes within their organisations—something 31% of IT pros already feel strongly about.
And indeed, internal change is necessary to support the rapid digitisation that would overtake most businesses. Besides establishing clearer lines of communication and streamlining technology deployment and onboarding, IT would also need to optimise their daily workloads—so they’ll have the time and headspace to upskill themselves to better manage and utilise their new stack of digital applications and solutions.
Accelerate Learning or Play Catch Up Later
At the time of our survey, only 26% of surveyed IT pros stated it was necessary to learn new skills to support the business shift to remote work. With technology constantly improving, and as businesses rapidly “tech up,” this percentage will inevitably increase. IT pros would be wise to begin their upskilling efforts now, so they won’t be left behind when things begin to accelerate.
The worrying trend, however, is only 47% have received the training support and 25% have obtained the resources they need to upskill in areas like network management, cybersecurity, and hybrid IT monitoring. As many organisations continue to explore austerity measures on non-essential spending, learning budgets will become increasingly difficult to secure. Counterintuitively, this puts the health of their organisation’s tech stack—and the value of IT pros—at great peril.
Forward-thinking IT pros have two options. Firstly, they should plan the trajectory of their education, with greater mindfulness towards possible role changes in the future. According to our recent IT Trends report, different IT roles will inevitably converge into new ones requiring hybrid skillsets and understanding of digital solutions. By evaluating how their existing responsibilities will evolve, IT pros can optimise their learning plan—and ensure their precious time isn’t spent learning skills that will eventually become redundant.
Secondly, they can self-fund their education by purchasing online classes or sign up for vendor training sessions, if provided. Online communities like THWACK® should also be leveraged for this, to tap into an enclave of peers and experts to ask questions, absorb best practices, and learn new skills from lessons posted by community contributors or vendor experts.
The pandemic has proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, the adaptability, curiosity, and problem-solving capabilities of IT pros are more than sufficient to help them weather through the tough few months. But the coming years will be tougher. If they play their cards right, and upskill in the right areas, IT pros won’t just survive the near term—they will blast a path for themselves and their organisations into the future.