Emerging from Digital Shock: IT Leaders Preparing for New Work Order
June 08, 2020
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The coronavirus has challenged IT organizations around the world in ways unimaginable. But new research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Citrix Systems, shows they are rising to the occasion, accelerating their digital transformation efforts to accommodate more flexible ways of working they say employees will demand even after the pandemic subsides.

Over three-quarters of IT leaders surveyed believe a majority of workers will be reluctant to return to the office as it was. And 62 percent say they are expediting their move to the cloud as a result.

"COVID-19 has put already stressed IT teams to the test as mandates designed to slow the spread of the virus have forced them to deliver digital work environments with unprecedented speed," said Meerah Rajavel, CIO, Citrix. "But as the results of our latest research reveal, they have responded and are stepping up their efforts to accommodate flexible models that will drive work for the foreseeable future."

Supporting Remote Work for the Long Haul

Over two-thirds of the IT decision makers polled by Censuswide (69 percent) say that it has been surprisingly easy for the majority of their employees to work from home, and 71 percent say that the technology they have put in place has enabled them to collaborate just as effectively as they can face-to-face. In light of this, they are revving up their digital engines and implementing solutions to support remote work for the long haul.

■ 62 percent of IT leaders say their departments are considering downsizing physical IT infrastructure and transitioning to a cloud model.

■ 42 percent anticipate introducing digital workspace platforms.

■ 44 percent are looking to public cloud services to facilitate long-term remote working.

A Rough Road

The road to widespread remote work has not been easy. Almost half (48 percent) of the IT leaders who participated in the Censuswide survey say their organizations did not have a business continuity plan based on the vast majority of employees working from home, and 61 percent found it challenging* to make the switch.

In addition, the fast and widespread adoption of remote work has opened a new set of concerns and challenges with which they must deal:

■ 70 percent of IT leaders are worried about information security as a result of employees working-from-home.

■ 54 percent say there’s been a spike in employees installing unsanctioned software.

■ 23 percent say that unscheduled virtual personal network (VPN) shutdowns have been a key problem for their department over the last few weeks.

Taking a Toll

All of this has taken a toll on IT teams, with over three-quarters (77 percent) reporting high stress levels. But there is a silver lining.

"This crisis has thrust IT teams — often the unsung heroes of a business — into the limelight like never before," Rajavel said. "They have worked to deliver secure, reliable work environments that are keeping employees engaged and productive and business moving in extremely challenging times. And in doing so, they will emerge from the crisis more strategic and valued by their organizations than they were going in."

More than three-quarters of the IT leaders polled (77 percent) share this sentiment and say that IT is currently seen as "business critical to their organization," while 55 percent believe that their new job title should be "working from home warrior" or "corporate savior."

Methodology: This study was based on interviews conducted in April/May 2020 with 3,770 IT decision makers within medium and large organizations from the following markets: USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands. Respondents work in the following sectors: Financial Services, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Telecommunications/Media Technology, Professional Services, Manufacturing, Retail, Other. The research was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Citrix.

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