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Insights 2021: Digital Transformation Will Speed Up in In the Hybrid Workplace

Think back to a year ago: The pandemic hit, normal daily life came to a jarring halt and businesses everywhere rushed to transition to remote / hybrid workplace models for survival. 

Collaboration technologies like video call, file sharing and digital messaging, along with other mission-critical IT infrastructure, were prioritized like never before— ensuring work would continue. This helped usher in digital transformations across businesses that had previously looked at automation as nice-to-have, but not critical.

Our work-life today looks much different. 

While 2020 brought rapid technological change, 2021 will mark another turning point as organizations transition to hybrid workplaces and employees split time back in the office, working from home or clocking in somewhere else entirely. 

Digital Transformation Influences Hybrid Workplace in the Post-Pandemic Economy

The digital transformation that erupted this past year is poised to continue full speed ahead in the post-pandemic workplace. And it will be up to businesses to quickly adapt, innovate and capitalize in this new digital economy. 

As we turn a corner on the pandemic, business leaders are now re-evaluating how and where to allocate their budgets.

Technology is sure to be a focus area, with research firm Gartner forecasting IT spending will be up more than 8% this year.  

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Organizations that were already deep into their digital transformation journeys are well-positioned for minor adjustments — a small budget increase will be sufficient to stay ahead of the curve. In contrast, organizations that were not as mature in their digital transformation journeys are now having to play catch-up and invest more into IT infrastructure.

IT Budgets in 2021

While IT budgets typically increase sightly year-over-year, we will likely see a larger increase this year because the world is seeing a higher demand for productivity and collaboration software with so many remote and hybrid workers. At many workplaces, digital transformation has moved past its early stages and technological needs are maturing.

IT departments must respond to these needs by creating agile workplaces. Perhaps we won’t have private desks in many offices because work is becoming a shared community space. To be successful in the months ahead, businesses must invest in digital solutions that improve collaboration and productivity across the organization, and prioritize hybrid workplace best practices that meet the needs of employees no matter where they are working from.

Types of Digital Infrastructures Worth Investing In

Across industries, the switch to remote work accelerated the adoption of new digital automation technologies. When the pandemic started, employees needed quick access to personal collaboration technologies for meetings, screen sharing, file sharing, etc. Most organizations were able to acquire those technologies very quickly if they didn’t have them already. 

Organizations are now focusing not just on individuals, but team, department and company-wide process automation improvements to empower and improve work across organizations. Meetings, screen and file sharing were able to move individual work from in-office to remote, but did not help broader processes as a whole to be much more efficient.

Many IT departments are looking to leverage software that helps them easily configure—not just customize—solutions in hours and days, instead of weeks and months. Investment in digital infrastructure that improves collaboration and productivity across the organization, including low-code process automation platforms, is likely to pay off in the long run. 

One thing the pandemic has shown is just how rapidly workplaces can change when external factors require it. It’s clear that business operations and IT infrastructure must keep pace. Over the next year, the transformation will not stop, it will continue accelerating ever faster. 

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