Are You Ready? Get Ahead of the Curve in 2021.

2020 was supposed to be the year of perfect vision (get it, “20-20”?). Instead, it has been a blur of unprecedented change and adaptation. For better or worse, it looks like 2021 promises more of the same--and it’s right around the corner. How can you get ahead of the curve of constant change and uncertainty--and refocus?

IDG’s Pandemic Business Impact Survey of 400 IT executives released in August suggests that it’s time to get proactive. The survey found “clear signs” that leaders are “moving from crisis management to executing on business initiatives” as the pandemic shows few signs of letting up. As the end of 2020 nears, leaders are shifting from reacting to the crisis to making budget, roadmap, and staffing plans for 2021. 

Key findings of the survey include:

  • 41 percent expect technology budgets to increase in 2021
  • 59 percent state that the pandemic has accelerated their development efforts
  • 52 percent won’t bring teams back in the office
  • On average, just 23 percent of employees need to be in the office for businesses to be fully operational
  • 62 percent expect hiring to be as challenging or more difficult than before the pandemic

More and more businesses are moving to remote work

“Remote work is working” for most businesses, the survey found. “Attitudes to remote working are changing, with a majority of organizations taking a more positive view of working from home than before the pandemic,” which is influencing plans as more than half of those surveyed said they have no intentions to return to the office. The fact that leaders see that they need just a quarter of their staff to be in the office speaks volumes about the sea change in views toward the workplace.

At the same time, many businesses are boosting IT investments and accelerating development in this uncertain economic environment. Why? Because their customers are demanding digital products and services. Companies are “accelerating their digital transformation efforts as they deal with new customer interaction patterns.” Customers are voting with their dollars for the best digital experiences, and businesses are racing to deliver.  

But hiring is still difficult and most don’t expect it to get any easier. The need to move faster with lingering staffing challenges and a newfound comfort with remote work opens the door to new talent acquisition models. Working from anywhere can include tapping into global talent pools to get the specific skills needed to stay on schedule and budget. This model can be especially valuable when time is of the essence, and the normal 30-60 day recruiting cycle is not sustainable. 

In fact, 30 percent of the IDG survey respondents expressed a willingness to augmenting teams with outsourced developers. This points to a new view of engineering staff augmentation. It’s not just about cutting costs or offloading projects. It’s about accelerating development and having the resources to quickly respond to changing conditions and to access the right skills at the right time. 

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