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Digital transformations are arriving five years early as workers head home

Digital transformations are arriving five years early as workers head home

Remote workers are expected to represent 32 per cent of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021.

Credit: Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash

Digital transformation efforts are being brought forward by at least five years as a result of the greater impact the pandemic-prompted remote work shift has wrought. 

According to analyst firm Gartner, the lasting impact of remote work is resulting in a reassessment of the IT infrastructure that shifts enterprise IT buyers’ requirements to demand work-anywhere capabilities.  

“Through 2024, organisations will be forced to bring forward digital business transformation plans by at least five years,” said Ranjit Atwal, senior research director at Gartner. “Those plans will have to adapt to a post-COVID-19 world that involves permanently higher adoption of remote work and digital touchpoints.” 

Digital products and services are, of course, also set to play a big role in organisations’ digital transformation efforts.   

In today's business climate, according to Gartner, long-term strategic plans require continued investment in remote-first technology continuity implementations along with new technologies such as hyperautomation, artificial intelligence (AI) and collaboration technologies to open up more flexibility of location choice in job roles. 

As has already been well documented, cloud is playing a big role in how companies are transforming, with cloud providers of all kinds seeing incredible growth. Gartner forecasts that worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow by 23.1 per cent in 2021 as businesses continue to prioritise cloud-delivered applications, such as software-as-a-service (SaaS).  

Among the broader gamut of SaaS offerings, social and collaboration tools will unsurprisingly continue to be a ‘must have’ among businesses and are set to see the worldwide social software and collaboration revenue market to increase by 17.1 per cent in 2021. 

Likewise, sales of PCs and tablets are set to continue to surge again after supply constraints impacted growth during initial pandemic-prompted lockdowns. As Gartner notes, a hybrid workforce will continue to increase the demand for PCs and tablets.  

In 2021, PC and tablet shipments are expected to exceed 500 million units for the first time in history, highlighting the demand across both business and consumer markets, according to the analyst firm. 

In terms of connectivity, many organisations have had to change and adapt their IT approaches to ensure business continuity among their remote workers.  

By 2024, according to Gartner, at least 40 per cent of all remote access usage will be served predominantly by zero trust network access (ZTNA), up from less than 5 per cent at the end of 2020. 

Gartner’s digital transformation predictions come as the firm's analysis suggests that 51 per cent of all knowledge workers worldwide will be working remotely by the end of 2021, up from 27 per cent of knowledge workers in 2019. 

Gartner defines knowledge workers as those who are involved in knowledge-intensive occupations, such as writers, accountants or engineers.  

Gartner defines a remote worker, meanwhile, as an employee working away from his or her company, government or customer site at least one full day a week, referred to as hybrid workers, or those who work fully from home. 

Gartner estimates that remote workers will represent 32 per cent of all employees worldwide by the end of 2021, up from 17 per cent of employees in 2019.  

“A hybrid workforce is the future of the work, with both remote and on-site part of the same solution to optimise employers’ workforce needs,” Atwal said. 


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