Impact of COVID-19 on Tech and IT

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on all of us as we struggle to stay safe, protect others, and still remain productive. I wrote about one important impact of the pandemic on the technology sector back in March (Coronavirus and Tech Conferences), but there have undoubtedly been many more factors that have arisen.

I don’t want to ignore perhaps the most obvious impact, working from home. But I don’t really want to belabor that point as it has been hashed out in the media quite a bit already; see, for example, Work from Home is Here to Stay (The Atlantic), Why Many Employees are Hoping to Work From Home Even After the Pandemic is Over (CNBC), and Telecommuting Will Likely Continue Long After the Pandemic (Brookings), among many, many others.

But there have been other, perhaps less obvious, ways that tech workers and companies have changed as we deal with the pandemic.

Yellowbrick Data, Inc., a data warehousing provider, recently surveyed over 1,000 enterprise IT managers and executives to see how IT departments were grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  At a high level—and contrary to conventional wisdom—not all IT budgets are being cut. Even with the economic challenges that COVID-19 has posed for businesses, almost 38 percent of enterprises are keeping their IT budgets unchanged (flat) or actually increasing them.

The survey also revealed some interesting statistics on how the pandemic has changed the thinking and lives of IT professionals. For example, it indicates that 95.1% of IT pros believe that COVID-19 has made their lives more centered on technology than ever before. To me, this is not surprising (except for the 4.9% who believe otherwise)!

Cost optimization is another vital discovery of this survey. 89.1% say their companies will be focused on cost optimization as a result of COVID-19 disruption, while at the same time revealing that 66% are accelerating their migration of analytics to the cloud due to COVID-19 and 63.9% are investing more in their data platform and analytics due to COVID-19. So cost optimization is important to organizations, not at the expense of ignoring or not managing their data appropriately. That is good news, in my humble opinion.

Migrating to a cloud computing model also remains an important aspect of IT amid the pandemic. Acceleration of cloud adoption has increased at 43.5% of organizations due to COVID-19 and 84.3% said that cloud computing is more important than workplace disruption. Nonetheless, 58.1% said that legacy computing is more important during workplace disruption. Not surprisingly then, 82% indicated a desire for hybrid multi-cloud options to spread any risk from their cloud investments. 50.5% said that the benefit of the hybrid cloud enables them to scale faster without compromising sensitive data. I’ve written about the hybrid multicloud approach before if you are interested in my thoughts on that.

Jeff Spicer, the CMO for Yellowbrick, provided these insights: “The survey brought to light some trends that we have been noticing recently related to the speed at which companies are moving to the cloud and investing in analytics. In fact, more than half of enterprises are accelerating their move to the cloud in light of COVID-19 challenges to their businesses. But what really stands out is that nearly 55 percent of enterprises are looking at a hybrid cloud strategy with a combination of cloud and on-premises solutions. That clearly shows that a cloud-alone strategy is not what most enterprises are looking for—and validates what our customers are telling us about their own best practices combining cloud and on-prem approaches to their biggest data infrastructure challenges.”

There will undoubtedly be additional impacts that will reverberate across the technology sector as we fully come to understand the long-term impact of the pandemic. Nevertheless, I found these insights to be illuminating and I hope that you do, too.

Feel free to share your thoughts below…

About craig@craigsmullins.com

I'm a data management strategist, researcher, and consultant with over three decades of experience in all facets of database systems development and implementation.
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