It’s a universal truth that the Covid-19 outbreak has disturbed the global equilibrium on all fronts including social, political, financial and economic. Reeling with the effect of tumbling stock markets and oil prices, increasing unemployment and disrupted supply chains, the world economies are struggling hard to overcome this catastrophic impact. With no clear signs of a cure in the immediate future, it thus becomes important to work creatively to protect businesses, economies and support our workforce wade successfully through this global predicament.
Impact of COVID 19 on IT Services
With far reaching effects of Covid-19 on almost all existing businesses, IT Services is no exception. As per IDC, owing to the pandemic, growth in global IT Spending is expected to reduce by 3-4% by the end of 2020 and this impacts not just the Hardware business but also the Software and Services businesses. Some impacts on IT services as a result of this disruption are already evident:
Reduction in discretionary IT spending– New projects and renewals may see some delay as organisations recalibrate their IT budgets and renegotiate existing contracts
Possible contraction for the quarter ending June– a contraction of at least 2 per cent is predicted YoY primarily owing to sectors highly impacted by the crisis — such as retail, aviation, tourism and hospitality amongst the key sectors.
Delay or slowdown on-going projects– Ongoing projects get impacted due to preventive lockdown measures, travel restrictions and organisations not being prepared for remote working especially in case of SMEs as they find themselves unprepared or underprepared for drastic measures in a short span of time. This is leading to delay in meeting milestones and resulting in lower billings.
Increased operative expenses or reduced margins– owing to operating challenges like higher cost of onsite resources due to travel and visa restrictions and mounting operating expenses for stepping up the infrastructure to enable a mobile workforce.
Navigating through this crisis
As the business scenario normalises, organisations will be looking to strengthen their digital capabilities and improving their operational efficiencies to effectively manage resources and mitigate future risks. This is when most of the industry sectors, will turn to IT Services for their guidance and support. We thus need to upskill ourselves for some of these potential requirements that can help strengthen our clients to navigate through possible future contingencies:
- Robust IT Infrastructure: No brownies for guessing that as the situation eases, IT spends will see a sharp recovery, with increased demand for Cloud infrastructure services, cyber security and strong network management.
- Mobile workforce: As organisations enable larger part of their workforce to work from home they will need to provide remote connectivity, thus ensuring VPNs and firewalls are updated regularly.
- Demand for next-generation technologies like AI and Big Data as new challenges and use cases emerge thus enabling faster processing and higher accuracy to keep businesses risk averse.
- Guidance on cost saving measures and revenue generation during crisis
Upskilling Service Providers
To keep pace, Service providers will also need to upskill:
- Upgrade their services portfolio and identity innovative and collaborative ways to offer cost savings to clients
- Reduce geographical or locational dependence
- Ensure quick response and agility irrespective of location or time zones thus moving towards a hybrid model involving onshore and offshore teams
- Upgrade infrastructure to ensure zero disruption during solution implementations and step up during a crisis/ pandemic to meet timelines.
- Ensure a reliable Business Continuity Plan.
- Train & equip project teams on digitally-enabled project management tools, risk identification and mitigation measures.
Thus, in the emerging post COVID scenario , IT Services too shall undergo transformation to keep up with the new norms- developing and delivering faster to support businesses, meeting client expectations and all the while ensuring safety of their employees and partner ecosystem. With literally no time on hand and complexities galore, it is indeed a challenge but as the saying goes…”while challenges are great, so are the opportunities”. Those driven by agility, creativity and empathy are bound to overcome this challenge and emerge stronger.
Managing Partner, Global Systems Implementation