Disruption has become constant. From the pandemic to the war in Ukraine, supply chain shortages and inflation — the one thing that remains consistent for businesses is disruption.
Disruption is stressful and forces change. Businesses are connecting and collaborating differently. In order for businesses to continue smooth operations, IT teams must be equipped with new tools that simplify processes, supplies and minimize risk.
To better understand IT needs in the ever-changing workplace, ngena recently conducted a survey of over 375 IT teams. The key themes that surfaced in the findings include: the expediting of remote and hybrid work; the resulting pain points and worries brought forward by IT teams; reflections on how teams could have been better prepared, and how they plan to be ready for such changes in the future.
Looking Back 18-24 Months
The sudden transition to remote work was not something businesses and their IT teams were prepared for at the pandemic's onset. In fact, perhaps not surprisingly, 83% of IT team leaders and members noted feeling stress and anxiety over the change to hybrid or remote work; with 77% of IT teams expressing that they did not feel fully prepared overall for the change.
And the lack of preparedness brought unique challenges — lack of communication tools being the largest one. When the pandemic hit, employees communicated in-person and by email. When the in-person communications stopped, many businesses were not set up with tools like Slack and Teams that help facilitate ongoing remote communications. This was followed by issues tied to speed of remote deployments, and managing of key components including network security threats, networks overall and multiple endpoints.
Along with stress and anxiety, the dispersed workforce environment also caused respondents to report a 77% lack of visibility and a 71% lack of control of operations. Feeling out of control led IT teams to think about and look for new solutions to their connectivity issues.
When asked how their teams could have been better prepared for the swift change in the workplace, the top four responses were: better communication tools, stronger network security, stronger network connection and faster remote deployments.
Looking Forward in Preparation
Nobody knows what the future holds, or when things will change again. That's why it is important for IT teams to be prepared for it. It's concerning that while 52% of respondents feel confident in their company's IT preparedness for another major disruption, just under half (48%) classified themselves as not confident or only somewhat confident. Companies need to prioritize IT needs to make sure that if and when the next major disruption hits, solutions are in place to minimize damage.
IT teams believe that their biggest IT challenges over the next three to five years will be keeping up with existing technology, innovating new technology and addressing security and risk. When asked about how they plan to face these future challenges, 40% of respondents chose “secure connectivity as a service” as the number one solution they were exploring, a strong indicator for where the market may be trending.
If the pandemic has taught businesses and IT professionals anything, it's that response to change needs to happen quickly — 65% of IT teams are planning to implement new solutions within the next year.
A More Connected Future
The loss of visibility and control in the workplace left IT professionals feeling stress, anxiety and a lack of confidence in their ability to handle the next major disruption. IT leaders need to find solutions that will support them throughout the entire network lifecycle, from start to finish. Having everything available to them on one platform can help guide them through the next major disruption in the workplace.
Increased pressures to adapt to new circumstances paired with the importance of keeping everything running smoothly has created a need for new tools that simplify work processes and minimize risk. IT professionals are looking for solutions that can simplify the network while positioning their business for connectivity in the Cloud era.
The implementation of these new tools will help IT team members and companies as a whole reduce stress and anxiety when preparing for the inevitable unknown.
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