A year ago we posted an article “The Real Cost of Pausing Your IT Projects Amid COVID-19 Economic Fears” and thought it worthwhile revisiting what was said then to see how it’s actually panned out. As we speak in July 2021, obviously the COVID pandemic isn’t over by a long shot, major Australian cities are still in or emerging from lockdown, the travel bubble with New Zealand has been temporarily suspended with travel generally remaining heavily curtailed, and the recent Delta variant is running amok through communities around the globe. Even the long delayed 2020 Olympics is being played out in empty auditoriums bereft of spectators, and the true cost of COVID on the economy is far from clear.
Caution and consequence
So we asked the question: did the uncertainly lead to decisions to delay or even cancel IT projects that were previously on the roadmap, and are these types of decisions helping or harming your organisation?
Certainly from our experience, yes, some IT projects were definitely impacted and many of our customers did initially look to cut costs and reduce capital expenditure. Some of this was based around caution and uncertainty, but also around the physical constraints of having the team working from home (WFH) rather in a close knit collaborative environment, and the sheer logistical difficulties associated with equipment and system access, security considerations, etc., plus effectiveness and productivity working within budget restraints.
Notwithstanding, faced with the necessity to keep functioning, many companies did find ways to press on, accepted and embraced the WFH culture, and did start to revisit their IT project plans to identify those that could still be achieved under the new working regime.
Increasing reliance on technology
We referred to evidence of a clear trend towards faster and greater reliance on communications and computing technologies that support the working conditions of the post pandemic world. Obviously the post pandemic world isn’t upon us yet, but “opening-up” experimentation to relax restrictions in places like the Netherlands and the UK are happening and lessons will no doubt be learnt from these, but for now, many employers are continuing with staff WFH policies, restricting travel, with conferences and work events still very much off the table.
Whether we like it or not, the reliance on technology-based solutions to facilitate meetings and maintain employee connections and engagement is very much the new norm, and therefore it makes good commercial sense to speed up rather than slow down the deployment of IT infrastructure upgrades which will certainly not be wasted investment in the post pandemic world.
The next normal
As predicted, the pandemic is something that we have learnt to accept and it did not go away “any time soon”. Things are different from both a personal and business sense, which we have to accept. Ultimately we don’t yet know what the post pandemic landscape will look like and whether the rich mix of business, retail, hospitality, arts and entertainment options we once took for granted, will survive. More than likely, they will still be available to us but in a much reduced form, as a new normal.
What we can ascertain is that you can’t put things on hold for ever. Progress and future prosperity does require pushing ahead with the goals and plans that best suit the future of the organisation using the resources available. Remembering that things were already in transition to a greater tech reliant landscape even before the pandemic emerged, we just need to keep moving forward regardless.
From our experience, clients are revisiting IT projects and thankfully, the ANZ technology sector is healthy and back in strong growth mode.
If you’d like to learn more about how the COVID pandemic is reshaping the working world and how you can best position your organisation for the future, talk to FinXL.