A report published this week by PagerDuty, a provider of an incident management platform, finds organizations that rely on the platform to manage IT issues are managing on average double the number of incidents since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In some industry segments, such as online learning services, travel and entertainment services, the number of incidents has increased 11-fold, the report noted.
Rachel Obstler, vice president of product for PagerDuty, said with more people at home, online services that are seeing a spike in use while at the same time deploying new code to drive additional services are clearly stressed. Enterprise IT organizations, meanwhile, are now dealing with large numbers of employees trying to remotely access a wide range of applications simultaneously. Incidents now range from relatively simple authentication issues to accelerating the rollout of a digital business initiative to help maintain business continuity, she noted.
Many of those organizations were already short of staff before the COVID-19 pandemic so longstanding challenges in many cases are now being further exacerbated, added Obstler. In addition, organizations that are rushing to deploy applications to enable their organizations to maintain business continuity are likely to not have tested those applications as thoroughly as they once might have. Inevitably, that decision will result in more IT incidents as issues are discovered after those applications are deployed in a production environment.
Naturally, there may be a temptation to suspend rollouts of new applications. However, with millions of individuals now required to work from home for an indefinite amount of time, digital business applications may be the only way to engage those individuals. In fact, Obstler noted that as working remotely becomes the new normal, many people are about to become a lot more proficient at both working and shopping from home. As such, digital business applications may soon become the primary medium through which organizations engage their end customers.
On the plus side, Obstler said it’s now relatively simple to deliver IT services from anywhere in the world, so there is an opportunity to bulk up existing IT support staff. Of course, the pool of IT professionals who are available to hire should also increase as vertical industries such as the travel and hospitality sectors essentially shut down.
It’s too early to say precisely how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the IT sector. While there will certainly be layoffs, many organizations will be loath to let go of IT staff who will be difficult to replace once the immediate economic recession ends. Countries around the world are also making funds available to companies on the condition they keep layoffs to a minimum.
Regardless of how many IT people are retained, however, the remaining IT staff will continue to be stressed. Many organizations are going to have to re-engineer IT processes by, for example, embracing best DevOps practices on the fly to adjust to a new reality. Many of the IT issues about to be encountered might not always be within the control of IT teams to address. However, business leaders will expect that one way or another those IT staff will come up with the innovative workarounds needed to enable the business to continue to survive and thrive.