Back in 2015, we published five predictions of how IT would change by 2020. So, how did we do? Let’s take a look.
Over the next five days, we’ll publish one prediction and result per day.
In our post, How IT Will Change by 2020 – Research from HDI, we elaborated on five topics of forecasting presented in Foresight Is 2020: Industry Predictions from the HDI Strategic Advisory Board, written by Roy Atkinson and Craig Baxter.
According to HDI, the article was the cornerstone of “an ambitious project to look ahead about five years and make some assertions about where the technical service and support industry will be by the year 2020.”
Here’s a look back at the first prediction made in that post five years ago, and our take on where we are actually at today.
2015 prediction: Employee services from across functions (IT, HR, finance, facilities, etc.) will be centralized in a single, user-friendly, self-service portal.
2020 reality: In many enterprises, the range of services within the oversight of IT has expanded, and those are reflected in expanded self-service portals. And there is generally a desire to go beyond these. However, most service portals remain IT-centric.
Few enterprises have fully embraced the “one-stop shop” solution because of issues like shadow IT, NIH (not invented here) syndrome, and the challenges of cross-departmental collaboration.
Frequently, there’s a desire in IT to bring other functional groups and their services into the self-service portal platform. And employees want to be able to request a wide range of services in a convenient and intuitive manner.
It’s clear that “big bang” approaches generally fall short of expectations. When every department is asked to change at once, the effort is too complex and the inertia is too strong for the project to work.
Companies that take an incremental approach, sort of “let’s start here and then expand,” tend to make better progress. But even in those cases, the expansion of services often peters out long before the portal is truly cross-functional. This goal remains largely aspirational.
Curiously, however, the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on workplace structures may be making this need more urgent. With nearly everyone working remotely, it’s more difficult for employees to figure out where to go or who to ask to get specific issues resolved.
If there really were one place, one portal that employees could log into to request almost any service, item, or answer, it would be so much easier for everyone to do their jobs—even from home.
So, the pandemic may be forcing this issue to the forefront, as it is doing with digital transformation more broadly. Initiating requests or processes using paper forms becomes much more inconvenient when they can’t just be walked down the hall for delivery.
The pandemic is pushing enterprises simultaneously toward greater use of automation and fewer systems of engagement for employees (as well as contactors, suppliers, and even customers) to use.
With a broad consensus emerging that flexible work arrangements are here to stay even once COVID-19 becomes a memory, enterprises need to change the way services are requested and delivered. Though the sense of urgency may change, organizations will evaluate how to improve these processes in whatever “new normal” emerges.
Conclusion: While some progress has been made, the 2015 vision is not yet a 2020 reality.
How do you think we, and HDI, did with this prediction? Leave your thoughts in the contact form at the top of this page or reach out on Twitter if you’ve got feedback for us.
NOTE: These posts would not have been possible without the expert input of Kinetic Data’s director of customer services, Matt Howe.