The 2020 Pandemic Forges the Shape of IT in 2021


2020’s unprecedented business disruption forced IT organizations to cease business-as-usual plans and operate in a frantically reactive manner. Complete stability remains elusive, but with sweeping changes eminent⸺the fallout continues. For instance, the switch to WFH or a hybrid of home/office may indeed become permanent.

IT organizations approached 2020 in the usual manner as administrators and implementers of technology at the enterprise-level. When the shutdown occurred, IT became the umbilical cord that helped productivity and expanded digital services, Now teams are deciding whether these changes become permanent. IT has become the lynchpin for strategy during the pandemic and helps to navigate these new challenges. Strategic thinking, combined with focusing on the client, is vital to leading the business toward full adoption of the digital customer. IT organizations, with minor or no gaps in these skills, are generally able to meet most if not all their transformation goals. There has never been a more urgent time to invest in the training and selective hiring to expand ITs strategic skill base. Also, consider partnerships with knowledgeable systems integrators and developers as a natural extension of your team.

As discussed above, methodologies such as change leadership, formal project management, and customer-driven design will help enable IT’s goal to act as a strategic partner. Envisioning your projects through these four lenses helps clarify needs versus wants:

  • Staff- Virtual work has required much reskilling. Management must be provided with tools to measure activity, focusing on outcomes based on collaboration and teamwork.

  • Risk- Organizations are very concerned about risk, from cybersecurity to internal hacks. So much so that we’ve begun implementing more Trusted Systems so organizations have their bases covered in three important areas, dispositions, disaster recovery, and backups. Here’s a webinar about Trusted Systems we are conducting with a partner later this month.

  • Budgets- IT continues its high wire balancing of austerity versus supporting WFH and cybersecurity.

  • Digital Transformation- Morphing transformation into acceleration is a major factor for organizations responding successfully to the pandemic. We see this in the adoption of web-based applications and the digitization of processes, information assets, and service delivery.

Most of the obstacles to IT’s success reflect a resource shortage either budgetary or manpower. The more IT is pulled in different directions. The less likely it will achieve its transformation agenda. If it sometimes feels like too much, remember digitally advanced IT organizations got that way in part by adopting new technologies, testing their use, and proving their value within the function before deploying them elsewhere in the enterprise. Not every project needs to be enterprise-ready upon implementation.

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