As coronavirus wreaks havoc with the global economy, a tsunami of change awaits many industries. The IT sector is no different.
Yes, the travel and hospitality industry is likely to be the hardest hit by coronavirus. Supply chain issues and a lack of consumer demand will also impact the manufacturing and technology sectors.
However, it would be foolish to think that those in the IT business can afford to keep on truckin' as though nothing has happened. Software houses, IT outsourcing firms, tech giants and providers of online services will all be affected in some way or another.
In our blog post, we'll reveal 5 key areas we expect to significantly change in the weeks and months ahead.
The huge spike in remote working will require new solutions from the IT sector
This first change is already in full swing. For many companies who had never envisaged the possibility before, their entire crew went remote overnight.
Although some initially viewed home working as a novelty, it soon dawned on businesses that the lockdown would exist for some time to come - necessitating the implementation of new systems, procedures and online infrastructure.
As companies hunt out custom-made solutions to overcome the obstacles generated by an entirely remote workforce, companies operating in the IT sector are on high alert.
Cloud computing is undoubtedly key here, especially in cases where employees are using their own personal machines. Recent statistics from Microsoft's Cloud Services underline this point; in countries with lockdown measures, traffic has increased by an incredible 775%.
Enterprises are recognising the true value of video conferencing
Video conferencing solutions may have been around for decades, but in recent weeks they have become an obligation, not an option.
All over the world, deeply-rooted prejudices about the pitfalls of video conferencing apps are slowly fading. Millions have come to realise that improvements in technology, hardware and internet speeds mean the current experience of video conferencing is nothing like the laggy Skype calls people made in the noughties.
As a result, business travel is bound to drop. Meanwhile, the cream of video conferencing apps will inevitably rise to the top. Businesses of all sizes will be keen to seek out the most secure and reliable solutions, even if it does involve some investment.
In March alone, popular video conferencing app Zoom saw its monthly downloads skyrocket from 10 million to 200 million. However, security concerns continue to cast a shadow over the software - despite it being used by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Rival app Webex, seen by many businesses as a safer option, also saw peak daily usage double last month.
Supply chain challenges
The difficulties related to the supply chain slowdown are already with us. As has been well documented, huge swathes of exported goods come from China - the very place where the global pandemic began earlier this year. Although some factories are starting up again after weeks of closure, the country's manufacturing sector is still some distance from returning to full health.
As a consequence, companies looking to purchase hardware from China will likely face an anxious wait. A good example is US-based electronic store chain Best Buy, whose product range is 60% Chinese sourced. These global supply chain delays could force some businesses into finding different suppliers, or alternatively, choosing to postpone planned hardware upgrades.
Read also: Using Blockchain To Enhance Supply Chains
The supply chain stoppage will also see businesses demand more access to key information. As Harvard Business Review writes, a survey by Resilinc found 70% of its respondents had problems assessing and collecting procurement data when the crisis unraveled in February.
In addition, the same publication believe that a "new breed of services companies can help acquire and analyze supply network data and organize the results in a user-friendly way." They cite Elementum, Llamasoft, and Resilinc as being three firms in the IT sector who currently deliver such solutions.
Smart solutions development
Despite public concerns over privacy and freedom, many western countries appear keen on using mobile applications to prevent coronavirus outbreak in the future. The creation of such apps would likely be outsourced rather than done in-house, sparking software development companies into submitting rival offers for big government contracts.
As Forbes reports, China, Singapore and South Korea have already used such apps to help keep coronavirus clusters to a minimum. In some cases, the apps have allowed cities to open up again, breathing life slowly back into the economy in the process.
Drone manufacturers and software developers could also be set for a frantic 2020. Countries such as China and India have recently used drones to disinfect public areas, and now some European nations are looking at doing the same. France are also using drones in order to check compliance with quarantine restrictions.
IT outsourcing to accelerate as companies seek efficiency savings
The economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic is predicted to be unlike anything experienced in our lifetimes. The vast majority of businesses will have to turn to austerity measures in order to cut costs, pushing outsourcing much higher up the agenda.
Businesses that can provide more cost-effective solutions will be highly sought after, regardless of whether they specialise in python software development, data management, IT support or online security.
Read also: How much does software development cost?
In the last few years, labour costs in the IT sector and tech industry have risen noticeably; central and eastern Europe being one notable example. However, a large wave of redundancies could see developers become far less picky when it comes to job offers - something that outsourcing firms may well be primed to take advantage of.
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