There is probably no memory of a time when the pressure to address technology challenges was so intense as it is in 2020.
The coronavirus outbreak forced companies around the world to adjust to a new reality that is itself still under construction. Although economies are timidly reopening, they do so while keeping an eye on the epidemiologic evolution to shape accordingly. And even though the future is still unknown, one thing is sure: as people adjust to this “new normal”, where the most mundane activities move to the online sphere, technology adoption will continue to skyrocket.
This poses opportunities for businesses to develop new digital strategies and even find new business streams. Still, it also entails a few challenges and risks that executives should keep in mind.
That said, here are 7 technology challenges that companies will face in the second half of 2020 and onwards.
1. Information Security
As digital becomes the default, businesses must be extra vigilant in the detection and prevention of cyber threats.
According to the CSO Pandemic Impact Survey, 26% of the executives surveyed stated that they had seen an increase in the volume, severity, and scope of cyberattacks since March. Similarly, as remote work becomes the new norm, 61% expressed great concern about attacks targeting their work-from-home employees.
Phishing attacks, malspams, and ransomware attacks disguised as legitimate applications related to COVID-19 are the most common attacks, affecting not only remote employees but also end-users.
2. Cloud Computing
The COVID crisis has boosted the adoption of cloud computing. In the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report, 59% of the respondents said their cloud usage would be higher than planned before the virus outbreak. In a period of uncertainty, where employees work from home, cloud computing has been crucial to resume business as usual.
Although its benefits are well-known-- scalability at the push of a button, accessibility from any device at any location, pay-per-usage pricing-- there are still a few concerns that haven’t vanished and that executives still need to have in mind. The list includes security and privacy concerns, management complexity, vendor lock-in, performance, and access speed.
3. Integrations and Upgrades
To stay competitive, companies need to constantly assess and improve their processes and technology. But customizing existing packages or aging systems takes time and money. The simplest solution is to integrate new tools with existing legacy technology, instead of rebuilding from scratch.
However, if not done with the proper training and management, it can impact the adoption of the new product.
4. Automation and Robotics
With the sudden urgency to go digital, companies that had already invested in RPA, BPM, and other automation methods were in a better position to face the new business demands. Companies still relying on legacy processes were pushed to the limit and exposed to their inefficiencies and reliance on manual processing.
In times of crisis, where companies need to cut expenses, automation may not be a priority. But one thing that this crisis shows us is that automation matters.
However, executives need to be cautious when implementing RPA, and other automation technology, particularly when it comes to security and, as automation solves more complex business tasks, employee adoption.
5. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
We’ve been hearing about AI's power and its disruptive capabilities for decades, but AI has now hit the mainstream. From facial recognition to language translators and assistants like Siri and Alexa, it is already part of the new normal.
But companies are also bringing AI into business operations to automate processes and enhance their customer and employee experience. AI can free employees from more laborious and time-consuming tasks to focus on creative and innovative projects. The technological challenge is how companies will manage the relationship between employees and AI machines, as the latter will replace the need for certain skills and increase the demand for others.
6. Skills Gap
As the recent Speed of Change: How Fast Are You report showed, both business leaders and laggards are affected by skill shortages and talent gaps that hinder the rapid adoption of the modern IT architectures needed for agility.
21% more of the laggards described hiring “full-stack developers” as difficult or very difficult. Leaders have less of a challenge hiring full-stack developers because of the approaches and tools they use and because of the quality of the work they get to do. Rather than working on keeping legacy systems alive, they get to work on new projects.
7. Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plans
Business continuity and disaster recovery plans have been around for a long time, but with companies facing staffing shortages, and unavailable workers and services, they’ve gained new importance in 2020.
Although worldwide pandemics aren’t that common, natural disasters, human-made disasters, and security threats like malware attacks are quite common, and companies should be ready to ensure a smooth recovery process and continuity of operations.
Overcoming Technology Issues
These and more topics will be at the center of the discussion in our upcoming digital event, NextStep. Join us on September 15-16 to learn more about how you can transform these challenges into an opportunity. Here’s a sneak peek of what to expect:
- Get key market insights from OutSystems experts and leading industry analysts
- Learn about successful projects designed and developed by OutSystems partners
- Connect with our customer success experts and see how to get the most value from OutSystems
- Connect with a network of peers from around the world
- Hear from customers how they achieved market-leading agility in response to the COVID crisis