Top 8 Technology Challenges Companies face in 2020

There is probably no memory of a time when the pressure to address was so intense as it is in 2020.

The coronavirus outbreak forced companies around the world to adjust to a new reality that is itself still under construction. Although economies are timidly reopening, they do so while keeping an eye on the epidemiologic evolution to shape accordingly. And even though the future is still unknown, one thing is sure: As people adjust to this “new normal,” where the most mundane activities move to the online sphere,  adoption will continue to skyrocket.

To succeed in today's business environment, it's absolutely critical for organizations to understand and manage IT risks that emerge with the rapidly escalating use of technology, and the best way to do that is with well-planned IT audit strategies and activities.

That said, here are 8 technology that companies will face in 2020 and onwards.

Information Security

As digital becomes the default, businesses must be extra-vigilant in the detection and prevention of cyber threats.

According to the CSO Pandemic Impact Survey, 26% of the executives surveyed stated that they had seen an increase in the volume, severity, and scope of cyberattacks since March. Similarly, as remote work becomes the new norm, 61% expressed great concern about attacks targeting their work-from-home employees.

Phishing attacks, malspams, and ransomware attacks disguised as legitimate applications related to COVID-19 are the most common attacks, affecting not only remote employees but also end users.

Cloud Computing

The COVID crisis has boosted the adoption of cloud computing. In the Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report, 59% of the respondents said their cloud usage would be higher than planned before the virus outbreak. In a period of uncertainty, where employees work from home, cloud computing has been crucial to resume business as usual.

Although its benefits are well-known scalability at the push of a button, accessibility from any device at any location, pay-per-usage pricing there are still a few concerns that haven't vanished and that executives still need to have in mind. The list includes security and privacy concerns, management complexity, vendor lock-in, performance, and access speed.

Integrations & Upgrades

To stay competitive, companies need to constantly assess and improve their processes and technology. But customizing existing packages or aging systems takes time and money. The simplest solution is to integrate new tools with existing legacy technology, instead of rebuilding from scratch. However, if not done with the proper training and management, it can impact the adoption of the new product.

Automation & Robotics

With the sudden urgency to go digital, companies that had already invested in RPA, BPM, and other automation methods were in a better position to face the new business demands. Companies still relying on legacy processes were pushed to the limit and exposed to their inefficiencies and reliance on manual processing.

In times of crisis, where companies need to cut expenses, automation may not be a priority. But one thing that this crisis shows us is that automation matters.

However, executives need to be cautious when implementing RPA and other automation technology, particularly when it comes to security and, as automation solves more complex business tasks, employee adoption.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

We've been hearing about AI's power and its disruptive capabilities for decades, but AI has now hit the mainstream. From facial recognition to language translators and assistants like Siri and Alexa, it's already part of the new normal.

But companies are also bringing AI into business operations to automate processes and enhance their customer and employee experience. AI can free employees from laborious and time-consuming tasks to focus on more creative and innovative projects. The technological challenge is how companies will manage the relationship between employees and AI machines, as the latter will replace the need for certain skills and increase the demand for others.

Digital transformation

Digital transformation is the latest disrupter. It has led to technology no longer providing a sustained competitive advantage. It now plays a supporting role in people with the right skills. Expertise is needed now more than ever to manage and implement all of the new technologies.

IT professionals and departments are falling behind they are failing to meet business objectives and seize market opportunities. While continual training is part of the equation, prioritizing skill needs is even more of a priority. That's why we created the Skills Development Index™ to help IT professionals rank their most critical skill needs and determine which type of training to pursue. Informal training has its merits, especially when on-the-fly knowledge must be acquired, but when a high-value project is on the line, more formal learning is the better option.

Skills Gap

As the recent Speed of Change: How Fast Are You report showed, both business leaders and laggards are affected by skill shortages and talent gaps that hinder the rapid adoption of the modern IT architectures needed for agility.

In the report, 21% more of the laggards described hiring “full-stack developers” as difficult or very difficult. Leaders have less of a challenge hiring full-stack developers because of the approaches and tools they use and because of the quality of the work they get to do. Rather than working on keeping legacy systems alive, they get to work on new projects.

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Plans

Business continuity and disaster recovery plans have been around for a long time, but with companies facing staffing shortages, and unavailable workers and services, they've gained new importance in 2020.

Although worldwide pandemics aren't that common, natural disasters, human-made disasters, and security threats like malware attacks are quite common, and companies should be ready to ensure a smooth recovery process and continuity of operations.

Final Words

Evaluating and assessing the IT governance process, as called for under The Institute of Internal Auditors Standard 2110.A2, is not a priority for organizations, regardless of size or region. On average, less than 30% of companies have complied with this standard, and less than one in three plans to do so within the next year.

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