Like so many sectors, IT was shaken by COVID-19. Last year’s sudden requirement to work from home hit like a bombshell for IT departments, who had to rally around to ensure security, privacy and accessibility were prioritised. In this way, IT was the backbone for companies who required tech to be safe, secure, and manageable for all staff working from home.
A year on, in 2021, organisations learned to live with the pandemic. The WFH model has been transformed into a system of flexible working and hybrid teams. And companies have had to rethink their infrastructure accordingly. Adopting the right approach to use of tech was crucial, and as such, the following IT trends have emerged in 2021:
The IT trends that changed everything
Cloud-based solutions have pioneered advancements in workplace technology this year. The cloud allows files, messages, tasks and even apps to be accessible with just a wireless device and an internet connection. It eliminates the need for any specialist equipment or complex hardware. And so, it comes as no surprise that we have seen a monumental shift in companies of all industries and sizes adopting cloud-based workspaces this year.
Most major software providers now offer the solution known as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) as part of their tool suites. These cloud-based workspaces are central, digital hubs that are conveniently accessible for all employees. Working within the cloud helps to maintain cohesion and consistency amongst teams for optimum efficiency. It removes workflow barriers such as decentralised information which employees must search across numerous platforms to obtain. What’s more, cloud-based working helps to eliminate the risks of security breaches which can be caused by team members accessing numerous applications and putting sensitive data at risk.
As hybrid IT teams increasingly became the norm in 2021, it was vital that digital transformation accounted for this. It was crucial that technology, and indeed, technology changes, were simple, accessible, and understandable. Remote workers couldn’t allow inadequate technology to be a barrier to their work. In fact, the State of Work 2021 report from Adobe Workfront found that almost half (49%) of workers were likely to leave their job if they were frustrated with the workplace tech!
With this in mind, companies made efficient, centralised tech stacking a priority this year. There has been a real shift to scale down tech to become simpler, more accessible, more intuitive, and more consistent across departments. Streamlining technology and consolidating tools in a central hub are trends we are sure to see continue into 2022. In summary, complicated tech stacks are out, and smart stacking is in!
Findings from The 2021 State of Work Report by Adobe Workfont
A lack of home and work divide at the hands of the pandemic led to an ‘always-on’ culture in 2020. Workers checked emails round the clock and laboured longer hours as they struggled to unplug. As a result, burnout reached new heights and was a contributing factor to ‘The Great Resignation’. Thankfully though, this year we’ve seen organisations take action to combat burnout. Leaders have fostered initiatives and started asking all important questions, such as “What can I do to make your work week easier?”
Whether the use of automation has increased as a direct result of attempts to resolve the issue of employee burnout is up for debate. But what is evident is that in times of crisis, you can count on an acceleration in technology to help aid recovery. In 2021 automation has been ushered in across almost every industry. Automating as many processes as possible is not about replacing staff members, but about making their jobs easier.
Trends such as automation can be used to enhance decision-making abilities and improve the quality of work as a result. The use of bots to automatically run various business operations and automate repetitive work has sped up business processes too. The increased uptake of automation has supported workers through the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, and its use in IT is set to continue going forward.