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Biggest tech considerations for NI business in 2021


Peter Russell

Peter Russell

Peter Russell

Last year was a busy one for IT and digital overhaul. With lockdown putting business continuity at peril, remote working technology, cloud adoption and online services all proved to be vital assets to our public and private sectors.

However, after rapidly adopting numerous IT initiatives, businesses now face a new set of challenges. Organisations must now focus on optimising IT investments, securing themselves from cyber-threats, and ensuring digital transformation efforts reflect the ever-changing parameters of the modern workplace.

Rushed IT investments must be re-examined

At the height of lockdown, over 80% of customers stated that Covid-19 was the biggest technology pressure ever faced. IT projects that would usually take years to be delivered were pushed through in weeks and months; long-term solutions were overlooked in favour of short-term fixes, and ongoing uncertainty led some companies to adopt new tech, perhaps too hastily. Businesses are therefore now expressing concern about the long-term impact, finding themselves with problems that could start to cause issues in terms of resourcing, workflow and competitiveness. Business leaders and decision makers must now take the time to ensure business operations are optimised effectively.

The working environment will change

Last year’s shift to remote working was one of the biggest occupational overhauls in recent memory and many still don’t envisage ever returning to the office. The year ahead will eventually see a shift to a hybrid business model that accommodates both physical and remote working. Companies should seek to optimise remote collaboration – the time between employees working from home and employees utilising office spaces – and organisations must ensure they provide the tech that enables this type of collaboration.

Behavioural analytics will continue to offer crucial insight

Remote working has also pushed businesses to look further into behavioural analytics. Technology offers extensive insights into people’s working patterns and combining the likes of tracking devices with data sources has the potential to provide a comprehensive overview of how workers engage with technology. This in turn delivers insights around which tech investments are being maximised and which businesses can make savings on.

Businesses will take a more proactive approach to cyber-security

As remote working grows, so will the number of devices, and so will cyber risk. 2021 we will see huge investments made into security services and products to help gain some control to counter the ever-changing threat.

This year will bring the return of foresight

Digital transformation in 2020 was defined by crisis and urgency. Businesses must draw upon their experiences of everything the last 12 months has brought, whilst ensuring they are planning for growth this year. Put simply, 2021 and beyond must see the return of foresight. Optimisation and strategy will be the initial focus as business leaders attempt to steady themselves following the turmoil of last year. Only after overcoming these challenges can Northern Ireland business begin to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the new post-Covid world.

Ulster Business