Citrix Survey Shows IT Leaders Preparing For The New Work Order

The coronavirus has challenged IT organizations around the world in ways unimaginable. But new research conducted by Citrix, along with Censuswide, surveyed 3,700 IT leaders from seven countries, including 503 from Canada. IT leaders reported on their responsibilities for keeping employees connected and working from home, and how they believe the corporate world is now changed post-Covid-19. The full study can be found here. But here’s the highlights from a Canadian perspective. The results provide a look at how Canadian IT leaders are rising to the occasion, accelerating their digital transformation efforts on average by 1.3 years to accommodate more flexible ways of working after the pandemic subsides. Over three-quarters believe a majority of workers will be reluctant to return to the office as it was, while 61 per cent say they are expediting their move to the cloud as a result.

INCREASED PRESSURE DUE TO SECURITY CONCERNS

  • From those interviewed, 75 per cent agreed they were concerned about the security of their data as the result of employees working from home. 
  • This stems from respondents agreeing they have seen a spike in employees installing unsanctioned communications channels/ software/ software in business operations/ communications 53 per cent. 
  • The rise in use of shadow IT/ unsanctioned channels/ software is an alarming 68 per cent, with 57 per cent agreeing shadow IT is a significant risk to the organization’s data compliance. 
  • 45 per cent of IT leaders report having 40 per cent or more of its employees working from home using personal devices rather than corporate devices
  • 75 per cent have seen an increase in security-related queries as the result of home and remote working in response to COVID-19.
  • Canadian IT leaders are under extreme pressure as provinces begin to reopen, topping the list as one of the most stressed, alongside the UK. 

ADAPTING TO THE NEW WORK ORDER 

  • Prior to COVID-19, 24 per cent of companies did not have a business continuity plan that considered having the majority of the workforce working from home, while only 42 per cent did. Only 29 per cent of companies had a pandemic business continuity plan.
  • Only 31 per cent of organizations allowed a majority of their workforce to work remotely three days or more of the week. 
  • Canadian IT leaders are now at the forefront of digital transformation, rapidly introducing new software/ applications to enable working from home. 
  • 52 per cent have implemented cloud-based document collaboration software, 42 per cent are using public cloud services, while 35 per cent have implemented digital workspace platforms. 
  • While rushing this process is not advised, 68 per cent say the pros outweigh the cons as a protective measure to ensure business continuity. 
  • Rapid digital transformation does not come without its share of challenges. The leading factors right now resulting in organizational challenges when transforming are:
    • IT hardware (Availability) (80 per cent)
    • IT software (Ability to scale) (80 per cent)
    • Corporate culture (64 per cent)
    • Corporate policies and procedures (70 per cent)
    • Lack of employee training (67 per cent)
    • Regulatory restrictions (66 per cent)
  • However, respondents are also saying there are added benefits like an increase in innovative approaches to teamwork and project collaboration (62 per cent), with 69 per cent hearing back from employees that the use of informal channels for communication and operations (i.e. Slack) are helping their teams be effective in working from home. 

OUR NEW CORPORATE SAVIOUR

  • Canadian IT leaders are finally getting the recognition they deserve with 80 per cent agreeing that the IT function/ department is more valued than it has ever been before. 
  • Respondents also say:
    • My visibility and status at my organization has increased (71 per cent).
    • Contact between IT and my organization’s leadership team has increased significantly (76 per cent).
    • IT is seen as business critical to my organization right now (81 per cent).
    • My organization has now realized how critical IT is to the operations of the business (77 per cent). 

Additional Facts:

  • 64 per cent agree that it has been surprisingly easy for the majority of the company to work from home. 
  • 36 per cent of respondents stated that “old school” leadership wanting people to be present at the office at all times, held back the digital transformation of their company.
  • 70 per cent think their organizations should have invested more in the software that enable employees to work from home.
  • Some unexpected humorous challenges the workforce has reported while working from home are:
    • 28 per cent report children and pets making a guest appearance on professional calls/ videos.
    • 23 per cent have had video conferencing clashes where meeting participants accidently joined calls not meant for them.
    • 22 per cent having tech equipment damages due to domestic dramas (children spilling drinks on laptops or pets chewing through power cables, for example).
    • 25 per cent of employees not muting themselves when on a work call as they visit the bathroom or have other personal moments.
    • 16 per cent of employees failing to dress appropriately for video calls, causing corporate embarrassment.

About the study

This study was based on interviews conducted in April/May 2020 with 3,770 IT decision makers within medium and large organizations from the following seven markets: USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands. Respondents work in the following sectors: Financial Services, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Telecommunications / Media Technology, Professional Services, Manufacturing, Retail, Other. The research was conducted by Censuswide (www.censuswide.com) on behalf of Citrix.

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