Of all the buzzwords IT pros expected to hear in 2020, remote workforce probably wasn’t even on the radar. Yet here we are, months into one of the largest, forced experiments in business history. No doubt many IT pros have tales of nights spent accelerating cloud deployments, extending the network edge, installing applications to support remote workers, and managing a thousand other unexpected related infrastructure changes. The results of this experiment? Once again, professional dedication and the resilience of IT teams kept existing solutions from buckling, and allowed businesses to adapt and even thrive.
As we finally draw closer to 2020’s end, it’s a great time to look back for perspective and learn from IT pros themselves what worked well, and what could have been smoother. Here are three takeaways from IT pros, drawn from our IT Pro Day 2020 survey.
- IT’s value and input will remain high in the coming months
Throughout the pandemic, IT professionals have assumed more roles as “frontliners” of many businesses. When it comes to business preservation, IT teams have played a fundamental role in ensuring the right tech was in place for continued productivity and output. In fact, as a result of this newfound responsibility and impact, the survey revealed over 64% of IT pros have been instilled with new confidence, a raison d’etre for their role. And this confidence isn’t one-sided; realising IT’s value to business continuity, business leaders are more likely to seek the recommendations of IT professionals.
If you’re an IT pro in this position, take advantage. Forty-six percent of IT pros reported increased interest in IT from the C-Suite and rewarded boldness to present new ideas, innovative concepts, and upskilling needs. As they embrace their newfound authority, IT pros shouldn’t forget the infrastructure and solutions that elevated them in the eyes of the business. In the coming months, we also see resource commitment to strengthen, rework, and improve short-term or cobbled together infrastructure.
- Agility and optimisation as new priorities
During the pandemic, IT’s biggest enemy turned out to be—unsurprisingly—complexity. In a new business reality where things evolved quickly and time was of the essence, over 31% of IT pros realised a rethink of internal processes was overdue to make them nimbler and less resource intensive. Clearer understanding and prioritisation of projects were top of the agenda, while the optimisation of networks and infrastructure has become the new priority for today’s IT pros.
In most businesses, this has begun through the consolidation of multiple solutions and vendors, in a bid to simplify and centralise management, maintenance, and upkeep. To remain agile in the face of constant change, over 53% of IT pros also cited the need for tighter cross-team collaborations between departments. The adoption of Agile and DevOps methodologies will likely grow in IT teams that haven’t already embraced them—allowing feedback and communication from other business teams to be quickly received, processed, and incorporated into whatever IT was working on. In the post-pandemic world, agility and optimisation will be crucial for any IT pro.
- Security and monitoring are new non-negotiables
If you asked most IT professionals, security should have always been non-negotiable and 2020 has made this even more clear. But with the inflation of external—often unsecured—connections from the remote workforce to the business network, network security and monitoring is indispensable. The need to establish tighter security policy and enforce compliance, in particular, is the renewed focus for over 43% of IT pros. In the past, managed security and monitoring meant lower security risks and a greater level of control over the performance, troubleshooting efficiency, and capacity of networks. In this new reality, these advantages will become even more important than ever before.
To keep their business networks stable and performing to expectations, IT pros will particularly depend on monitoring tools to pull the diagnostic data they need to puzzle out the health of their networks. For instance, over 50% of IT pros have stated an intent to extend network operations visibility through investments into solutions like APM. Tools like these provide IT pros valuable details to make quick troubleshooting decisions, service optimisation, OpEx cost containment, and more.
Many of us probably started the year thinking 2020 might be atypical, or perhaps we’d even see more success with cloud or digital transformation. Instead, it’s been another reminder for IT pros of their ability to adapt and creatively pivot is why they’re so valuable to the business. 2021 may be a great one for IT, with 2020 demonstrating success, improved communication and processes, and new momentum to overcome even “impossible” technology challenges.