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How COVID-19 has Impacted the IT Services Industry

January 13, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant influence on all industries, including IT services. Business leaders in this sector have to adapt and rethink their business strategies to stay in demand in the IT market. How has the pandemic impacted software outsourcing services? Keep on reading to learn from the insights below.

Does Remote Work Decrease Productivity?

In the pre-pandemic period, many experts expressed skepticism about WFH (work from home) because they believed it would be harder to control remote teams’ productivity in comparison to an orthodox team of developers working in the same space. Nevertheless, when the pandemic forced company leaders to adapt their workflow strategies, remote work was the only way out. Still, it turned out that WFH is efficient enough, and the attitude towards remote work has changed dramatically. 

Those managers who felt doubtful whether WFH can work for software development teams had to find a way to manage remote project teams efficiently. Many industry experts admit that the WFH option has turned out to be more efficient than they had expected before implementing it. Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other industry leaders were among the first tech leaders that allowed their employees to work from home until mid-2021. 

According to Accenture’s study, most employees expressed a high level of satisfaction about working from home. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents enjoy working from home, and 86% of employees agree that they have the right tools to work from home, while 61% of them are even more productive at home than they are in the office. Moreover, many plan to work remotely or combine WFH and office work in the post-pandemic period. 

Source: https://www.accenture.com/gb-en/insights/consumer-goods-services/coronavirus-consumer-trends-impacting-cpgs

Still, as reported by Accenture’s study, the initial appeal of WFH dropped slightly in May after two months of remote work because people’s expectations of what’s required for productive WFH have changed. For example, the number of people who felt they had the right tools to work remotely decreased by 11% in May. It became another challenge for employers to adapt to new employee expectations and provide all the necessary conditions for distributed teams’ productive work. By the end of 2020, WFH is still used by many companies to protect employees from the coronavirus second wave.

Like many companies, ISsoft had to show flexibility and adapt to the WFH option to keep the productivity level in the pre-pandemic period. Our in-house WFH Survey found that 75% of ISsoft’s employees are satisfied with remote work conditions, and 58.4% of our colleagues are thinking of sometimes working from home.   

It’s worth noting that about 50% of the respondents agree that their productivity hasn’t changed after switching to remote work, while 38% of ISsoft’s employees consider they are even more productive now.

Security Issues and How Outsourcing Companies Handle Them

One of the fundamental challenges related to dedicated development teams while working full-time from home is customers’ fear of their sensitive data leakage and the inability to provide data security. To protect customers’ confidentiality, IT services vendors must ensure that each client is aware and agrees that their development teams may be located out of the office. The data security regulations also obligate software development companies to supply employees with all the necessary tools and equipment to provide stable and secure IT services. As a result, outsourcing companies spend more on additional security software and hardware to protect endpoints and ensure more safety for clients’ projects. 

Software outsourcing companies know that employees using their personal laptops or PCs and a shared public network can put their client’s information at risk. That’s why they oblige their project teams to apply strong firewall settings not to expose the data to malicious activities online. Outsourcing companies also have to strengthen encryption for data storage. Moreover, many companies tend to use cloud storage rather than hardware.  

It is more convenient for the employees to use personal laptops for remote work, yet they must be checked if they are compliant with the company’s security policy. Still, large outsourcing companies supply their remote teams with all the equipment required for working on project tasks.

Agile for Managing Productivity and Creativity of Remote Teams

Before COVID-19, many industry leaders proved their competency, making outsourcing an attractive option for software development. In the pandemic period, both customers and IT vendors worry about productivity – whether they can control distributed teams to keep up with the project’s timelines and meet final goals. That’s why software development companies have to adapt their management strategies and methodologies to ensure regular communication within a project team.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are witnessing increased spending on software for remote work. According to the survey published on statista.com, 67% of respondents have increased their web conferencing software budget. They also reported increases in spending on collaboration tools, remote desktops tools, and other solutions.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1116831/business-software-spending-covid19-forecast/

Agile methodology has proved its efficiency in providing higher productivity, creativity, and better decision making when working in the same place together. After the COVID-19 breakdown, most software development companies had to work remotely to ensure their teams’ wellness. For this reason, project leads had to adapt Agile culture to ‘’virtual offices’’ to stay productive. 

One of Agile’s pros is regular team communication, and in the times of WFH, project leads need to keep a steady rhythm of meetings that enables collaboration and alignment with the project. While working remotely, alignment is more critical than ever before because team members are now acting more autonomously, and the more aligned they are, the more productive their work is. That’s why project managers need to ensure that all team members know the project’s strategies and priorities. 

To reach better alignment and agility, project teams are implementing regular daily standups (sometimes employing videoconferencing) to report progress, discuss plans, and any issues that may arise. Still, 30-60 minutes standups aren’t the only ways of collaboration. Project teams have to apply instant messaging and frequent calls to discuss the current workflow and tasks.

There are lots of virtual tools that can help stay agile while working remotely. They are used in different ways, ranging from one-on-one or team meetings to collaborating. For example, such conferencing tools as Zoom or Webex enhance connections within a team, and virtual whiteboards – such as Jira or Trello –  are the right collaboration tools that help project teams overcome physical distancing.

Prioritization is the key to efficiency and productive work, so Agile managers need to adhere to strict prioritization by creating backlogs and ensuring that the team works on today’s plan’s most important things.

In a Nutshell

Undoubtedly, the lockdown caused the service sector to decline. Many customers have suspended their projects; some industries haven’t recovered from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the lockdown has led to accelerated digitalization of all sectors. 

Considering COVID-19’s impact, most IT vendors expect enterprises to spend more on cybersecurity, automation, and smart analytics, while spending on IoT, 5G, and edge computing will stay the same. According to LiveArea Research, about 37% of UK businesses and 34% of US ones would consider outsourcing IT and development due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the long term, we’ll observe the growth of outsourcing services. WFH proved that it is unnecessary to keep the whole team in the office to get a high productivity level. Moreover, developers working from home move from expensive regions like Silicon Valley or New York to cheaper locations to live there. Many remote employees go to Asia, Europe, or South America. You can have different opinions on the matter, yet the fact remains that in-house specialists are no longer any different from outsourcing developers. Still, their salaries do differ. As a result, many clients have already taken a new look at outsourcing services and are expanding their remote teams with highly qualified outsourcing staff.

As an outsourcing partner, ISsoft pays much attention to all aspects related to outsourcing in the COVID-19 pandemic period, including infrastructure and Internet, data security, efficient Agile management, etc. We provide professional development teams that apply high-level standards to keep the client’s project secure and guarantee distributed teams’ productive work performance.