IT Service Management in the times of COVID - The Impact, Opportunity and Way Forward

COVID-19 has had a direct effect on the technology industry, impacting the supply chain, disrupting the value chain, and creating commodity inflation threats. More positively, the disruption has prompted remote work to intensify, and a rapid emphasis on assessing and de-risking the end-to-end value chain.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the threats, opportunities, and way forward for the IT industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The negative impact of COVID-19 on the IT industry

The major weaknesses now facing the IT industry are due to the fall in the economy, as many firms are forced to ask their employees to work from home, keeping public health issues in mind.

Top software multinationals, Microsoft, HP, Dell, SAP, Oracle experts said, will be affected by the low technology spending by customers in the US and Europe following lockdowns around the world.

Finance firm Goldman Sachs expects IT sector revenue to decrease by 2-7% due to a downturn in decision-making over the next six months, as companies assess the effect of the virus that is affecting the global economy.

Challenges faced by the IT industry

Business continuity plans

Business continuity plans have been created in the distant past for some companies and left to get dusty. The rapid shift of employees to remote working has been unparalleled and there is a need to create greater resilience in business operations because business continuity plans do not cover every eventuality. Companies are struggling to find a balanced footing to keep the business running in these unexpected times. A clear business continuity plan is the need of the hour for both employers, employees, clients, and business partners. 

Maintaining ITSM operations during the crisis

IT support teams during the early part of the crisis needed to help business associates working from home while facing the same problems themselves. This challenge was amplified by issues across all three – people, processes, and technology. Then when there was a siloed workforce, there were problems related to manual tasks and systems collapsing.

Delivering services and supporting remote staff

This is where many IT organizations have performed miracles in establishing their business partners as home employees and helping them. This was not just the provision of functional devices and applications. It was also about managing employees who had never worked from home and needed technical assistance to do so.

Cybersecurity concerns

In most cases, there might be inadequate protection in a home setup that features a network connection and devices used to access sensitive company data. For example, an in-depth security strategy such as the use of VPNs, antivirus solutions, firewalls, and intrusion prevention systems that are undoubtedly used to protect an enterprise might be missing. Such security measures are rarely implemented by an organization to protect critical data and provide basic security in residential environments where employees can work remotely. In addition, there is an increased likelihood of an incident of breach or compromise of authentications required to access the systems of the business from home.

Blooming Opportunities 

Businesses would experience a transformation in the post-coronavirus world and the IT industry may be the largest beneficiary. Many IT firms have digitised all their processes and invested in cutting edge infrastructure and interactive technologies to support their location-independent agile delivery models and stable borderless workspaces.

In order to leverage growth, businesses, mainly those in the service sector such as banking, education, retail, healthcare, food, and grocery delivery will continue to adopt technology and automation.

As work from home continues to become the new normal, more workloads will have to be moved to the cloud to ensure that organisations can run as usual. For business applications and retail support services internationally, industries such as retail can invest more on IT and IT infrastructure.

As part of the customer’s digital transformation strategy, manufacturers of industrial tools and  hardware and security software providers aim to provide end-to-end applications, networks, and digital services of scale. Banks would have to digitise and automate end-to-end infrastructure operations and take automation initiatives through data centres, cloud, workplace, cybersecurity, network and service management.

Similarly, technology will grow as the e-commerce backbone. It not only helps to connect sellers and consumers on mobile and web networks, but also allows customer orders, deliveries, returns, and payments to be handled efficiently. Many countries use artificial intelligence to track infections, notify healthcare authorities, and introduce rapid steps to curb the spread of infection.

In addition, companies hiring for remote positions will now have access to a diverse set of potential candidates since location is not a constraint while working from home. This will enable the company to foster and train a truly global workforce made of employees hailing from different cultures, skill sets, and experiences.

For companies leasing huge office spaces, COVID has proved to be a cost-saving opportunity since employees are working from home. Even if employers are working with a smaller staff at the premises itself, they have been motivated to do away with large spaces that are not required for a few people.

In order to provide a growing remote workforce with tools and technology to work from home efficiently, companies are now turning towards investing in ITSM tools. It will allow them to avoid connectivity problems, potential cybersecurity threats, and data accessibility issues. 

Going forward

It is important for organizations to do everything in their power to make the transition as seamless as possible, as the world adapts to the reality of a global pandemic and the change to remote working.  IT Service Management plays a major part in this and in digital transformation.

Moving forward, the technology space will be dominated by digitization, cloud computing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. An effective ITSM solution can help organizations become more flexible and adaptable in supporting the remote workforce.

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