Evolution of IT during the pandemic

The pandemic and lockdowns around the globe have raised importance for many sectors and industries that perhaps previously were overlooked. It is generally assumed that the word Information Technology, or simply put, IT, has something to do with fixing computers, or running the internet or Wi-Fi, and to some extent, providing data protection for critical companies. However, there is much more to it than that.

Yes, IT professionals help in getting emails working, resetting passwords, etc. but there is much more to this field than an average person realizes.

Being a certified IT professional working for major companies, I would like to explain not only the importance of the work and support that IT professionals provide but also discuss some of the challenges these departments are facing.

IT is a capital-intensive department, serving the ever-growing importance of automation, connectivity, and internet-of-things, in our everyday life. Simply put, it helps connect the world in a much easier and simpler way, at the palm of your hand. But somehow, the user is growing impatient with every passing day.

Don’t take me wrong, user expectations with information-based technology are growing at a rapid pace as everyone wants their usage and needs met within the stipulated time. And that is exactly what IT thrives upon – automating something that is way ahead of its time and making it easier and more available for the user. We bring sophistication and convenience along with security to manual practices. We prefer users who are demanding and have clarity of purpose in their request as compared to some who call themselves visionary and have no clue about what they want or require in the form of automation or whatsoever.

Such demanding users make our job even more challenging, and at the same time more rewarding. Witnessing them happy at the launch or go-live date and eventually presenting the data and dashboards to their respective bosses is truly satisfying.

Then comes the security aspect of things – the never-ending loop of how much convenience to provide and how much control to endorse. Unfortunately, these two things are inversely proportionate to each other. The more control we have, the more inconvenient the user experience becomes. A healthy balance must be maintained while achieving strategic business objectives.

Companies that have ingrained their digital transformation towards a directed business strategy are going to do well as compared to those who are doing a minor connectivity project and naming it internet-of-things. Although this journey is long, it is much-needed and could open doors to a convenient, reliable, and smooth transfer of technology and information in the organization. Therefore, it should be given importance, but it must also come with a clear direction. Sadly, it is not treated like that. In such a case, it becomes akin to keeping a dinosaur in a chicken’s den. It outgrows all other projects and becomes a monster. If not tamed and properly managed, it could destroy everything around it.

Call it opportunistic thinking but Covid has made IT come to the forefront. The pandemic induced an overnight change in user behavior and the world quickly adopted modern ways of doing old things. The rise in the usage of online education and remote working are big examples. New programs were developed in a short period to meet new demands, such as smart houses with advanced door locking systems where no human touch is necessary. Some companies were well prepared and catapulted from this change to new heights while others were not ready and are still gearing up for this new age.

All in all, this has made the world of IT come to the spotlight. In the pre-pandemic days, IT professionals thought this technological leap could take years. But now, in the post-COVID world, they are taking stringent, effective, and strategic steps so that not only such convenience is provided within days or weeks, but it also becomes simpler for anyone to understand and adopt. The surge in the use of online shopping apps, for example, shows that behavioral change among users and IT adoption can happen in a matter of weeks.

What I like is that IT is now being looked at with utmost importance. This doesn’t mean COVID gave IT professionals importance since they were playing a critical role before as well. But a much-needed strategic alignment of the IT department with the rest of the business has occurred. Now, it is not considered as something that we go to only in a reactive manner.

Technology is engrained in virtually all parts of businesses, so it only makes that sense we think of it this way. People have long been saying that digital is the way forward and all things will be controlled at the palm of our hands. The world now seems to be headed in that direction, and at a rapid pace. Perhaps this is the time we, as a nation, adapt to this growing need and structure our models and processes accordingly, not just for the IT sector but for all of the companies in every industry and eventually the Pakistani economy which has an abundance of young, talented professionals.

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