How permanent are some of the pandemic-induced changes going to be?

It's been a huge “forced march” experiment. It has forced people to embrace some virtual technologies they might not have in the past. If you've worked for a large enterprise tech company and managed teams around the world, you're used to doing virtual teaming. But it was not the mainstay of how people interact. It was more isolated. I think the pandemic has forced everybody to learn how to interact in those environments. I feel I've seen a lot of innovations around keeping people engaged in those environments. How do you stay in touch with people? How do you meet new people that you haven't met before? This has truly forced people out of their comfort zone and it's skills building that is going to be here for a long time. I think it is going to disrupt a lot of the ways people think about how they run their businesses as well. I don't know that it's a disruption, as much as it's an opportunity to really do things differently. It's a strengthening exercise for how people build viable, sustainable business models. It's going to make organizations and businesses stronger over the long haul.

Anonymous Author
It's been a huge “forced march” experiment. It has forced people to embrace some virtual technologies they might not have in the past. If you've worked for a large enterprise tech company and managed teams around the world, you're used to doing virtual teaming. But it was not the mainstay of how people interact. It was more isolated. I think the pandemic has forced everybody to learn how to interact in those environments. I feel I've seen a lot of innovations around keeping people engaged in those environments. How do you stay in touch with people? How do you meet new people that you haven't met before? This has truly forced people out of their comfort zone and it's skills building that is going to be here for a long time. I think it is going to disrupt a lot of the ways people think about how they run their businesses as well. I don't know that it's a disruption, as much as it's an opportunity to really do things differently. It's a strengthening exercise for how people build viable, sustainable business models. It's going to make organizations and businesses stronger over the long haul.
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Anonymous Author
I think a lot about how the pandemic changes compliance obligations. There are physical in-person audits that take place in data centers to determine whether or not the controls are actually being met. We've had to figure out how to accomplish that when physical presence for audits isn't possible. These audits have traditionally been done in a very interactive, real time, in-person way. You might set up a specific room for the auditors and the people supporting the audit for a couple of weeks where they could plan out insight visits across the globe. In a world where in-person visits aren't possible, it's forced our auditors to rethink the way that they approach their compliance offering. This has allowed them to really open up to the idea of verifying things like the existence of backup power via remote mechanisms (FaceTime, Hangouts, Zoom, etc) rather than in person. It has also forced us to double down on our automation related to compliance, because we can have a more open mind with our auditors in regards to the way in which process should typically work. It’s not a weakening of compliance by any means, but reimagining what a compliance regime looks like in the world of COVID. Changes like that are going to be durable. These processes, as they've evolved, are frankly materially better than what we were doing, both in coverage and in time of investment. It forces an up front investment to retrain people, revise processes, and build tooling.
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Anonymous Author
I've always been a remote worker, traveling extensively. I think that it's been gratifying to me to see other people learn how to effectively work in an environment like that. People are now more accommodating to the patterns that are necessary for remote work. But I'm not quite convinced that it is going to continue to be the de facto way of working. I know that some of the projects that I've worked on could be very isolating for people who live alone. I've got an army of family outside my home office. I think that healthy teams accommodate that spectrum. And I think that we will see a swing back in regards to work patterns. Not 100% back to the way it was, but I think that that swing back will happen very quickly once it's possible.
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Anonymous Author
In business school, they say, don't look at your sunk cost as an indication of how committed you are to a strategy. But a lot of these companies are enduring significant costs to remain productive during this phase. I think it makes it more likely that those changes will be enduring. Many changes are going to be around for quite some time, not only due to how long this has gone on, but also because of the significant kinds of process, environmental, tooling and capabilities that have been modified through this. That's both a good thing and a bad thing.
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Anonymous Author
More flexible remote work options for staff are here to stay in order to remain competitive as an employer, especially in areas where productivity can be reasonably assumed to be as good if not better than on-premise.  In the academic sector, the ability to offer virtual and/or hybrid learning is now going to be a viable option instead of being reserved for certain programs or for-profit institutions.  Technology adoption and perhaps even innovation (particularly in higher-ed) will be viewed as a business-critical process rather than a distraction. Or at the very least, given more consideration and attention than often received pre-pandemic.
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Anonymous Author
New normal. There are benefits like eliminating the journey to office and back and having more me-time. Also it's more convenient for companies to shrink on spaces and reduce cost of services.
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Anonymous Author
I think the two biggest were work from home and the move to cloud computing. I think both of those are permanent.
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Anonymous Author
I think a lot of it will be permanent. This is a way for us to cut down on costs for office spaces, supplies etc.
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