COVID-19 – a change and challenge for IT

Analysis

COVID-19 – a change and challenge for IT

Technology as a way to ensure resilience

March 2020

The serious threat posed by COVID-19, together with the resulting school lockdown and social distancing recommendations, causes more and more companies and institutions to implement remote work. Something which seemed to be an experiment or an appealing benefit for a vast majority of employees just two weeks ago now seems to be nothing but daily life.

This means many business processes and human interactions are no longer framed as personal communication but as telecommunication. The culture shock notwithstanding, it is worth thinking what this change brings for IT departments.

Communication tools

VPN infrastructure, instant messengers, and collaboration applications are now undergoing severe load testing from users across many Polish organisations. Companies and institutions which have so far not been using such solutions must make a quantum leap into the age of digital. Nature abhors a vacuum. If IT does not provide the right solutions, the users themselves will turn to such options as Facebook, Messenger, Google Hangouts or Dropbox, essentially circumventing IT recommendations and putting security at risk. Rapid adoption of the right technologies is a sine qua non condition for IT to remain a real business partner, and to retain control over data security and IT architecture standards.

IT support structures

With mass numbers of people working from home, and no personal contact between users and the IT department, IT support structures based on clear rules are key, supported by multichannel means of communication. IT should immediately equip users with tools allowing them to successfully solve problems on their own, and, if need be, to interact with support. Important solutions include knowledge bases with transparent search options (offering users information on how to create an order in SAP or solve a VPN configuration problem), service catalogues allowing ordering and delivering standard IT services (e.g. access to SharePoint), and additional communication options with Service Desk through chat, phone or mobile app. With such solutions, IT can effectively manage expectations, timely react to issues reported, and successfully prioritise its own actions based on real data.

IT Service Desk

The Service Desk and “ticket tools” have for long been considered a Cinderella of IT practice. These are now, however, becoming key IT tools for maintaining efficient business operations, and stabilising the technological side to running an organisation in those highly unusual times. The black swan event that COVID-19 pandemic is can become a catalyst of disruptive changes in how we communicate, releasing an immense productivity potential that has so far been locked in office lease costs and the time needed for millions of people to get to work.

This piece has been originally developed by Deloitte Poland.

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