Like most of us, I’d hoped that 2021 would be something more like a ‘normal’ year. But of course, it wasn’t. Likewise, I’d more-or-less assumed I’d now be looking ahead to a bright, shiny ‘post-pandemic’ year in 2022. Doesn’t look as though that’s going to happen either…

With the world entering its third year under the shadow of Covid-19, a couple of things seem pretty clear to me. One is that the pre-Covid world has gone, and really isn’t coming back. The other is that whatever the virus’s evolutionary trajectory, we’re all going to have to adapt and find ways to do things differently. So what does this mean for us as IT leaders? In my view, the next 12 months presents three principal challenges.

The new reality

The first is to recognise and accept our new reality. The workplace is being reinvented. We’re not going to be 100% working-from-work or 100% working-from-home: the new default is (or will be) the hybrid model. During the early lockdowns, WFH actually increased overall productivity. As time’s gone on, though, people have become increasingly stale and fatigued, and those gains are being reversed. We need to think about how we can keep our teams motivated, on-task and able to make change when they’re remote. When it comes to project planning, we should not only be asking ‘what do you want and need?’ but also ‘are you adopting it correctly, and is it working for you?’

Getting it done

Recent conversations suggest many companies will be looking at IT-enabled business decisions they deferred last year, and deciding change can’t be put off any longer. As IT leaders, we’ll be tasked with getting things done in the new context of hybrid working in 2022 and (almost inevitably) tighter deadlines and greater pressure to deliver now even-more-critical transformation.

Putting users first

The third challenge really ties the first two together. How do we ensure a good, seamless experience for our users, regardless of their location? At Acora, we provide a solution with our new Experience Level Agreement (XLA) which directly addresses the UX as well as ‘pure’ IT service metrics. Put simply, we can ask users how they’re feeling about the services they’re consuming, in real time. This gives IT teams hard, empirical data about what’s working well and not-so-well for people, and what needs to change to improve things for them. But for me, this can and should go wider and deeper than just technology and business performance.

Supporting wellbeing

The past year has shown IT’s crucial role in people’s mental health and wellbeing. The experiential data we can now gather through telemetry allows us to provide guidance on good work habits, and flag up issues around fatigue and potential burnout. I can also personally recommend the weekly digest available to Windows 365 users. It shows how much time you’ve spent in meetings – a really useful way to support key people you really can’t do without and (just as importantly) keep tabs on your own state of being.

So I believe that as well as big challenges, the coming year presents great opportunities for strategic partnerships with HR and other functions. By collecting and sharing UX data, IT has a potentially huge part to play in supporting people across the business to be healthier, happier and more productive. And at a time when everything’s changing, we can help make sure it’s for the better.

From everyone at Acora, best wishes for 2022. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help you, please contact us.


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