The view from a mid Q1 2021 standpoint is that we are on the verge of easing lockdown restrictions and recovering our freedoms and lives. Hopefully not just for the short term, but with the aid of medical science, for the foreseeable future. So, what from an IT perspective can we expect?
What will the post pandemic world look like, will it be fundamentally different, with the end of office-based workers, mass commuting, cities? or when the dust settles will it be hard to spot the differences, a little bit like the trim levels on Ford Escort MK2 L and GL models (you can ignore this analogy unless, like me you started driving in the eighties).
Much has been surmised; however it seems to range from 'the world will never be the same' to 'we will revert to business as usual' and everywhere in between.
Clearly the right answers in there somewhere, but that is like saying' I know next week’s winning lottery’s numbers, they will definitely be six unique numbers between the range of 1 and 59'. Correct, but unfortunately of little actionable value.
Truth be told I do not believe anyone knows how the world and particularly the IT Landscape will change. There are simply to many variables, unknowns and potential curveballs, not least because the more forward thinking and acting organisations, particularly the tech giants, will probably take a significant hand in shaping it.
I believe we are on the verge of significant technology and social changes with the realisation of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and IoT; and while COVID-19 may have been a bit of a sidestep I believe it will ultimately accelerate their wider acceptance and adoption. Because its people that are generally holding up the wider adoption of disruptive technologies in the workplace and the pandemic has forced us to challenge our views of what is normal and acceptable.
So yes, as a direct result of lockdown restrictions the post pandemic world will be different to a greater and lesser extent, more workplace / device flexibility, more services moving online and into the Cloud and fundamental changes in the retail sector amongst others, but this could be a sucker punch to the technology revolution that may follow.
Last decades digital disruptors took a technology led approach and turned established markets on their heads. Not constrained in the scope of their thinking or encumbered by the capability and structure of their business they won through revolution, not evolution.
The raft of new technologies will unleash potential advances around greater physical and logical automation, real world modelling, crypto currency, collaboration and machine to human interaction. This will have a direct or indirect impact across all market sectors. I wager this will be as transformational as anything we have seen since the wide-spread adoption of the Internet.
Never has there been more of a need for the business strategy to embrace and reflect the opportunities created by technology. The role of the CTO and CIO will be more fundamental than ever, businesses that leverage the next generation technologies will thrive, those that do not will suffer.