A year after transitioning to remote work, many businesses are now eyeing a return to the office and re-evaluating how and where to allocate their budgets. One area that appears to be a focus: The IT department, which research firm Gartner forecasts will see spending increase by more than 8% this year.
Here to talk more about how IT budgets are changing in the post-pandemic economy is Terry Simpson, technical evangelist for Nintex, a process management and automation software company based in Bellevue, Washington. A Q&A with Nintex’s Terry Simpson.
What are your expectations for how IT budgets may change in the post-pandemic economy?
Terry Simpson: IT budgets are getting a lot of attention and focus in this post-pandemic economy. Most organizations are working in a completely new environment in terms of the employee and customer experience. Businesses are now in need of additional IT software to support remote employees, contactless experiences, and automation needs.
Organizations that were far along in their digital transformation journeys are well-positioned for minor adjustments – meaning that a small budget increase will be sufficient. In contrast, organizations that were not as mature in their digital transformation journeys are now having to go digital overnight to catch up – meaning they need to invest more into their IT infrastructure. Overall, IT budgets will always increase slightly year-on-year, but we may see a larger increase this year because the world is seeing a higher demand for productivity and collaboration software.
How did the remote work during pandemic change IT priorities? How will those priorities change as many businesses bring workers back to the office or transition to a hybrid workplace?
Terry Simpson: Organizations that had no-code IT software, that allowed them to react quickly, were able to stay ahead of the curve. IT departments were receiving a lot of pressure to create solutions overnight. Any weakness in an IT group’s maturity was quickly exposed in 2020. For 2021, agility will be really important for any technology or team.
IT will need to respond to those needs by creating a workplace that’s agile. Maybe we won’t have desks in an office anymore because it’s a community space. IT will need to prioritize an approach to the hybrid workplace and it will definitely be challenging because we have never had to do this before.
How can IT Departments ensure they get the most ‘bang for their buck’ in 2021? What types of digital infrastructure/technology are likely to be worth the investment?
Terry Simpson: IT departments are in the unique position of delivering a wide variety of services that meet the needs of their organizations. They must constantly walk a fine line of setting up a secure environment while providing enough access to information.
IT departments must leverage software that allows them to configure—not just customize—solutions in hours and days, instead of weeks and months. IT departments should be investing in digital infrastructure that improves collaboration and productivity across the organization. Process automation is a critical piece of that puzzle.
What are some of the IT challenges and areas of opportunity as businesses and their workers adapt to a hybrid workplace?
Terry Simpson: One of the primary challenges for IT departments is meeting the needs of each employee and group in the organization. In order for an employee to be effective, they must have the proper environment, tools, access, training, skills and motivation to get their job done. Each of these needs are different for every employee.
IT groups must have the right mix of software tools available to meet each need. Many organizations have assembled a library of software tools that each do one or two things very well. What IT departments are finding, is the need to consolidate many of these tools into larger platforms that have multiple capabilities instead of just one or two. This is a significant opportunity to increase the level of service and flexibility for the business.
What kinds of technological needs will employees have in 2021? How are those needs changing? What can businesses do to ensure they meet those needs?
Terry Simpson: When the pandemic started, employees needed quick access to collaboration technologies for meetings, screen sharing, file sharing, etc. Most organizations were able to acquire those technologies very quickly if they didn’t have them already. As we move into 2021 in the post-pandemic economy, technological needs are maturing and gaining a greater focus on automation.
Organizations are now focused on the trigger of a process and the lifecycle of that process around the organization. Meetings, screen sharing and file sharing were able to move the work from in-office to remote, but did not help the process as a whole to be much more efficient and automated. Organizations that are automating processes can increase capacity of throughput without having to increase headcount. Businesses that have automation tools can significantly increase the probability for profitability.
Nintex is the global standard for process management and automation. Today more than 10,000 public and private sector organizations across 90 countries turn to the Nintex Platform to accelerate progress on their digital transformation journeys by quickly and easily managing, automating and optimizing business processes. Learn more by visiting www.nintex.com and experience how Nintex and its global partner network are shaping the future of Intelligent Process Automation (IPA).