More than halfway through 2021, the “normal” we knew before COVID-19 remains as far away as ever. As this is not necessarily for the worse, workplace activity in key financial centers is way down, but it’s partially because employees are demanding better work-life balance and forcing companies to reckon with the way things used to be, in ways big and small. IT modernization is one way that businesses are answering the issues brought to light in hopes to build a better, happier workforce.

One of those solutions is a culture of transparency. In order to keep up with ever-changing demands, the workplace needs to become more collaborative. Therefore, managers and executives are welcoming younger staff members into the fold and allowing them to have more input on how their jobs should change and grow.

This also means that some of the cool and flashy toys we sometimes grumble about will lose their luster. This goes for all technologies, from smartphones to smartwatches, but the most important part is that technology becomes invisible at work, so anyone can focus on getting work done instead of worrying the latest gadget is distracting them from achieving their goals. Here’s what CIOs predict:

1. Employees will be more engaged and willing to learn

As was mentioned, IT needs to become more transparent, as opposed to hiding away in the cubicle. This means that employees will be able to get their questions answered when they come across them and technology will become a simpler part of everyday life. The CIOs also believe that the tech industry is entering a new era where everyone can take part in key decisions about future technological investments.

2. More collaboration across channels is inevitable as devices are becoming smarter and smarter

Remember this statement? “Smart interactions. That’s where we’re going to be moving in the next 20 years, and all devices are going to have to do that.” Well, that statement isn’t far off. We can expect smart home appliances in 2020, artificially intelligent virtual assistants and voice assistants will gain momentum this year, and we’ll be living in a world where “smart” almost seems like a requirement.

3. Businesses will no longer want to build their own solutions

This is admittedly less of a prediction than an inevitability: the beginning of the end for IT as we know it is starting to show itself already. It used to be that every company was building its own SaaS for everything: HR, payroll, sales, etc. But now the percentage of companies that are exploring this option is decreasing, as the need to focus on enterprise-level platforms grows heavier and customers want a better product more quickly than in years past.

4. BYOD will exist in name only

This won’t happen overnight, but within the next 5 years, all of us will prefer our personal devices at work over company-issued devices. In fact, one CIO expressed some concern for his employees’ safety if they don’t use their own phones and instead rely on devices from the company.

5. More people will prefer using a single device rather than multiple devices

It’s not the idea that some people may not want to use a laptop in the morning or an iPad at the break room, it’s that we’ll all have so many devices, and they’ll all be more advanced than when they were first released. We expect this trend of specialization to continue over the next two years or so, and by 2022 or 2023 it will be common for companies to allow their employees to pick their own devices for work purposes. Think about how much easier this would make your life!

6. Analytics will grow in importance

In a time when we’re not as worried about the latest piece of technology that’s coming out, we’ll start to focus more on data analytics. The CIOs think that as more and more companies start to rely on technology for productivity, the importance of data analytics will become more apparent. Using this method, the IT department can monitor all employees’ activity without them having to raise their hand or complain to get things done.

7. Enterprises will have a much more holistic approach to their tech needs

Today, many businesses have a specific IT function that handles one or two tasks. By 2022, all CIOs expect their department to be entirely responsible for how technology is used within their company: application development, delivery, and management across all major platforms. This is the “Ops” part of DevOps that many CXOs are calling for.

IT will continue to evolve, and we’ll see many of the changes few CIOs predicted. However, even though they may not know it at the time, their department will prove essential to the bottom line, as well as what happens in business.

Interested in reading more about information technology, or IT? IT Structure – Why Your Business Needs It discusses why structuring IT is essential for any business.

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