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IT pros struggling to juggle Covid-19 demands with innovation agenda

The current coronavirus crisis is making life increasingly difficult for those tasked with keeping the lights on at IT departments

Resellers have done a valiant job of supporting customers through the Covid-19 lockdown, but many users are still struggling and the need for the channel’s assistance remains high.

There has been some research that has given a snapshot of what is happening at the coalface, with many IT professionals straining under the current conditions to meet all of the demands being put on their shoulders.

IT monitoring specialist Paessler found that the idea of the corporate network suddenly falling over was one that kept IT staff up at night. They also revealed that a major gripe was being alerted to problems by staff or their bosses before they themselves have discovered there was an issue.

Networks have been put under strain during the coronavirus pandemic, with many suffering outages because of the increased usage.

“It can be a thankless job working in IT. Few give praise when things go right, but many pipe up and complain when things go wrong. What we must remember is that IT teams are just as likely to get frustrated as the users themselves when networks fail," said Martin Hodgson, country manager UK and Ireland at Paessler AG.

“IT teams can’t see into the future. But when it comes to the network, the best approach to take is a proactive one – spotting early signs of potential issues so they can be fixed fast before they escalate and impact the user,” he added.

Even with the coronavirus there has been an expectation that IT departments will continue to drive innovation with digital transformation still an ambition for many firms.

The challenge of responding to the shift to home working, which has exposed serious challenges with networks and security, plus the innovation demands have put many IT pros at breaking point.

Research from Mendix found that a lot of time and energy has been spent over the past few weeks in making sure that businesses can still run, even with staff connecting remotely.

That has accelerated some digital transformation projects and put those responsible for delivering them under immense strain, with 70% of the global respondents revealing that it had put some projects on hold as priorities changed.

A third of those quizzed by Mendix said that the need to support remote working had taken up the time of around half of their IT departments.

There are signs that Covid-19 has already sparked more focus on different ways of working, with several areas emerging as ones that customers are investing some energy into. Top of the list is remote access app development, followed by coronavirus-related apps, collaboration and improving digital customer interactions.

“We are on the cusp of a new workplace, one where distributed workforces can collaborate on projects from any location and innovate together. This puts the IT team in a challenging position, where it has to juggle the need to support a more agile workforce while at the same time speeding up digital transformation timelines. This is no longer a choice, it’s a business imperative,” said Johan den Haan, chief technology officer at Mendix.

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