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Managed IT Services

Understanding COVID-19’s Impact On the IT sector

WRITTEN BY
Michelle Lievense

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every industry, every lifestyle, and every corner of the planet. It’s changed the ways in which everyone interacts, plays, and how they work. The impact on the technology sector is also significant as a result of COVID-19. There have been shifts in hardware and software, semiconductors, network equipment, IT services, and more. Any production line, storefront, or customer service department that requires in-person workers to keep it going has been halted or slowed. While disruption has a ripple effect and weighs on the economy, there are ways to anticipate some of the changes that are still to come in order to protect our businesses and their longevity. 

Issues that the IT Industry might face: crisis management and response

Disruption can have a positive or negative impact on the economy and various sectors. The impact greatly depends on the human response to changes, including responses to COVID-19. Raw materials supply, disruption of the electronics value chain, and of course, the risk of inflation on products and services are all concerns. 

However, we are also seeing the human response resulting in an acceleration of remote work, re-focused efforts on narrowed priorities and streamlining goals that reach the bottom line faster, evaluating and reducing risk, as well as simplifying and renegotiation the end-to-end value chain. The IT sector has enjoyed so much risk, and uncertainty with dollars heavily focused on growth rather than profit, that a shift this significant in the economy could very destabilize the entire sector. Instead, we see a fast shift to profitability, and new calculations and implementation of best practices to that end. In addition, carbon emissions reductions could result in a renewed focus on sustainability in this sector as well as nearly all industries, carving our more value in the supply chain and consumer delight.

There are remaining challenges that have yet to be addressed. Staffing and employee management in a remote world where people are not used to working remotely, nor are they used to managing teams remotely, can cause road bumps and difficulties. Companies or industries that don’t adapt well can and will face an expensive learning curve.

Opportunities and Threats in the IT industry during the Pandemic

The effects of coronavirus have opened the IT industry up to varied opportunities and have the sector seeking out ways to shore up defenses against potential threats. With the introduction of 5G (5th generation) technology, connectedness, for example, will be faster and more available to remote workers. In fact, this will bring more reliability and faster service to remote workers in more regions. 

That means this opportunity for faster, more reliable service may make workers more efficient and productive while creating a larger pool to draw from. However, it also creates a threat in that anytime a pool of remote workers gets larger, wages are driven down by newer people to the remote workforce, which reduces the number of quality remote workers who will continue in the industry.

There are also industries experiencing significant upward trends in popularity. Consider telemedicine for both humans and pets. While remote medicine is booming, creating opportunities for larger patient pools and delocalized consumers, it also faces a threat should COVID-19 reach a point where remote living and remote working are no longer mandated. Will consumers continue to use telemedicine and tele veterinarian services for non-emergencies? Or will in-person visits still be preferred by those who are concerned about cybersecurity and HIPPA violations?

COVID-19’s Benefits for IT Sector

While the long-term effects of the coronavirus are still being measured and weighed, nobody has a crystal ball, and the IT industry faces a great deal of uncertainty, just like everyone else. There are still far-reaching concerns as well as significant benefits of the IT industry. 

Life evolves quickly, particularly where technology is concerned. It’s very possible that changes may evolve in such a way that IT solidifies its position in the consumer’s everyday life across industries. In doing so, IT will become even more ingrained and essential to everyday work and living. When communication, connections to the outside world, such as grocery shopping, day-to-day work functions, and even home security and medicine all become increasingly dependant on the IT sector, you can be sure that whatever changes are ahead, profitable opportunities and benefits are being captured and set in motion so that every detail of consumer living continues to require the success of the IT industry. 

Additionally, cybersecurity risk has skyrocketed with an increased danger of corporate espionage all the way down to increased risk to employee’s private security while working from home. Increasingly, entire cities are paying for ransomware rather than pay the hefty fees to recover their email, phone, and computer systems while trying to return service or avoid interruption to residents. In all matters of security, deciding which critical functions will remain on-site and which can be remote has become vital. Ensuring remote workers have the security they need can take a great deal of time and money. Companies need to communicate with clarity and always be clear about health and safety. While workers used to be concerned with having a gym on-site and whether they could bring their dog to work, concerns now center around how securely they can work on potentially sensitive information and projects from home.

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