IT and (tele) work: why IT supervision will be central in 2021

Society and economic activity were strongly impacted by the pandemic in 2020. Teleworking has become widespread as the technological tools that made this possible are becoming more and more present in our daily lives. IT supervision is there so that everyone can work peacefully in 2021.

Technological tools have proven to be decisive in our new way of working. Without them, many companies would not have been able to allow their employees to work remotely during periods of confinement. They allowed us to stay connected to each other, when we needed it: video conferencing, collaborative platforms and messaging services are just a few examples that have made this possible.

Technology has therefore acted as a lifeline for businesses throughout this year. In 2021, we will see a continuation of this trend of valuing digital technologies and solutions for the workspace, wherever it is located.

The fact that these tools stay connected and always available doesn’t just happen by itself, however. For a business to run worry-free with people who work efficiently, a proactive approach to technology oversight can help spot problems early and nip them in the bud.

Managing IT issues in 2021

In the fairly likely event that telecommuting remains the norm in 2021, one of the developments we’ll see will be more user proactivity in resolving IT issues.

Companies will begin to train teleworkers on a basic understanding of what can cause a problem, so that they try to solve it on their own by accessing knowledge bases. Common examples of easily resolved problems include video conferencing that crashes on the user’s side without the platform being the source of the malfunction. Or that of the inability to connect to company systems, not because the VPN would not work, but because the user accidentally changed some settings.

Companies should therefore provide teleworkers with the means to solve problems with the tools at their disposal, when possible. Users should be able to verify that the company’s internal systems are operational through a monitoring solution on a web portal. This may be limited to a superficial level but which helps employees understand the situation and be proactive with their own abilities.

In addition, IT security will remain a major focus of vigilance for teleworkers in 2021, given the large number of cyberattacks currently raging. Here too, companies have their role to play in educating users on potential risks.

Frustrations still present with IT in 2021

In 2021, we will probably still see frustrations related to teleworking. A survey of IT users in 2020 revealed that by far the biggest challenge was connectivity issues when working from home, followed by access to video conferencing tools. It must be said that many teleworkers do not take the time to apply best practices, by not performing software updates when needed or by not investing in a signal booster that could improve their connectivity when they are far from their router / box.

There will also be a growing need to strengthen IT oversight as employees diversify the types of software they use. The new solutions introduced will need to be supervised to avoid downtime, and it is the IT administrators who will have to train the users to manage these issues themselves.. A number of tools already exist to oversee most of the connectivity and share with users a simplified view of service availability. This can help them determine for themselves whether the cause of a problem is related to their IT tools or to their Internet service provider.

Migration to the cloud in 2021

In 2021, IT decision makers will prioritize cloud virtualization, the means by which IT departments implement virtual servers, storage and operating systems for users. Thanks to this, IT teams can create applications and services for teleworkers in order to make the most of virtual platforms in the cloud. This is an improvement on the traditional relationship between hardware and software.

We have already seen that employees do not need to be in the office to work. But they will require more flexible work organization and new IT tools to accomplish their tasks. The result will be an abandonment of models of paper and office work. Instead, creating and editing documents live in the cloud will become increasingly important. The technology is now ripe for collaboration, allowing different teleworkers to easily connect online and thereby reduce reliance on physical office equipment.

For industrial companies, the convergence between operational technologies (OT), IoT, industrial IoT (IIoT) and IT will continue to progress thanks to the cloud. This is where the power and flexibility of IT can really make a difference for businesses relying on older or siled systems. The benefits are so numerous that convergence can only go in one direction. In addition, the monitoring of processes and machines through a single platform combining IT, OT and IoT has multiple advantages and allows many organizations to achieve significant savings.

Work everywhere in 2021

Being able to work from anywhere is becoming more and more the norm and we will see this trend continue in 2021, as employees demand an increasingly mobile organization.

Tech companies will soon be setting this as a standard, if some haven’t already. IT administrators can already receive live information on their smartwatches about monitoring their company’s software, for example. Employees want to be able to connect in the way that suits them best, whether it’s in the palm of their hand or on the wrist. The days of the IBM mainframe of the 1960s are long behind us, so there’s no reason tech companies can’t keep up with the new mobility habits.

From the point of view of IT supervision, the systems implemented in 2021 must integrate the concept of teleworking from day one because teleworkers are no longer a minority. The type of supervision to be deployed depends on the situation. The IT department of a company whose employees use applications in the cloud has a permanent obligation to verify their correct functioning. And regardless of their level of cloud usage, organizations will always have infrastructure that needs to be maintained and supervised.

What’s on the horizon in 2021 and beyond

The importance of teleworking is likely to have a major impact on how IT is managed in 2021 and beyond. We could sooner or later see companies move their offices out of city centers, in view of the expenses related to the rental of premises which will become superfluous in relation to the needs. Whether inside or outside the office, IT will be at the center of our lives.

Inside the office, with people trying to revert to traditional working conditions, IT will need to ensure a solid level of operation and no downtime of business-critical tools. Outside the office, with some of the employees dispersed in teleworking mode, IT will have to guarantee access to the necessary resources as well as security procedures. 2021 will be an opportunity for IT teams to build capacity for remote working, optimize infrastructure and continue to ensure business continuity of the company in a transparent way for teleworking teams.

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