Top IT Trends and Predictions for the New Way of Working

The events of the past year turned the digital work world upside down. Practically overnight, the laptop became an office onto itself. And as a result, IT support had to pivot quickly and approach strange new work problems from a different, more intuitive angle.

Now, with that long and difficult year in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead. Here are the most important predictions for the post-pandemic future of IT.

Introduction

Every year, analysts and thought leaders look back on the previous twelve months and offer predictions that speak to where we’re headed next. These predictions are backed by data, research, and a strong understanding of developing trends in the industry and the world at large. And then came 2020 – a year that even the most forward-thinking innovators couldn’t have possibly predicted.

The coronavirus pandemic sent shockwaves through businesses across the globe, displacing tight-knit teams into isolated remote offices and forcing business leaders to adapt at an alarming rate. The plans we all entered the new year with were put on hold, abandoned altogether, or replaced with new strategies tailored to our digital-only work environments.

Many of these changes posed tremendous challenges, as individuals and organizations alike battled financial hurdles, safety concerns, and the long-term stresses brought on by an unpredictable and unfamiliar collective problem.

But with difficult challenge comes positive change – and the IT field underwent a remarkable period of evolution as a result of the pandemic. From the acceleration of digital transformation to the rise of employee-centric IT strategies, the innovation that took place through 2020 laid the foundation for a new era of IT.

We’re beginning to recognize the long-term effects the pandemic has had on modern businesses and IT teams specifically. Keep reading to learn what trends IT leaders must take note of as their teams emerge from the pandemic to an entirely new workplace reality.

01. Digital Employee Experience Will Emerge as a Key Performance Indicator for IT Departments

The importance of Digital Employee Experience (DEX) within the broader employee experience domain has dramatically increased as a result of the pandemic. Where digital experience was just one among many elements of EX in the past, the shift to remote and hybrid work means that digital experience is now the heartbeat of the entire employee experience.

As a result, Digital Employee Experience has gained traction as a top priority for IT departments. When employees and job candidates think about experience, they’re no longer just thinking about culture, commute times and office perks – they’re thinking about what kind of digital workspace a company provides to keep them productive and connected.

“In an economy where organizations are battling for top talent and the world has shifted to a ‘work from anywhere’ model, providing a reliable digital workplace and proactively preventing disruptions will be seen as table stakes for IT to enable the business,” says Michael Applebaum, VP of Product Marketing at Nexthink.

Many leaders in the IT space have gained new perspectives on the value of Digital Employee Experience. n fact, according to the Nexthink Pulse Report, 96% of IT executives say DEX is essential to their IT department – up from 49% in 2019, before the pandemic.

However, there’s still a lot of ground to make up when it comes to quantifying DEX: roughly 1/2 of IT executives surveyed in the Pulse report admit they can’t measure it.

Quantifying DEX relies on IT’s ability to gather and analyze real-time data related to the performance and experience of the full range of employee-facing technologies – including devices, applications, virtualization, and networks. It also requires the measurement and monitoring of employee sentiment to reveal any issues that aren’t apparent from technology monitoring alone. Over the next two years, we’ll see DEX measurement become a key focus among IT departments across the globe.

02. CIOs Will See Expanded Roles and Leadership Opportunities

The challenge of adapting to the pandemic impacted employees in every role, but none more so than the Chief Information Officer. The sudden pivot to remote work put a strain on IT infrastructures, created an immediate need for new technology investments, and increased the risk of security and performance issues across entire organizations. Many of these burdens fell squarely on the shoulders of CIOs.

Faced with the monumental task of enabling digital workspaces at a rapid pace, many CIOs rose to the occasion. By overseeing successful work-from-anywhere strategies, CIOs “helped save their enterprises” according to Gartner’s 2021 CIO Agenda — which is no exaggeration.

The pandemic has emphasized CIOs’ abilities to drive digital transformation when given more strategic power. And CEOs have taken notice. Over the next two years, CIOs will continue to gain influence within their organizations and play a larger role in developing business strategy, particularly when it comes to implementing new systems for remote and hybrid workforces.

“The pandemic has made CEOs see the value of technology investments in an area where they previously have not,” Martha Heller, CEO of Heller Search Associates, told Nexthink. “Any time you get a CEO who has an appetite for increased technology investment and adoption within their companies, that’s good for the CIO.”

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