New research: Global IT feels the strain of lockdown

IDG Connect coronavirus research study looks at how the lockdown is impacting IT - part one covers the data.

IDG Connect research polls 476 global IT decision makers to discover how mass lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic is impacting their work. In the first of this two-part deep dive into the findings we look at the regional differences that emerge from the data.

The situation we now all find ourselves in is like nothing the world has ever seen before. The entire globe is at various stages of lockdown. Essential workers are still going about their daily business - outside - but the rest of us are confined to our houses, almost entirely dependent on IT. On top of this, many businesses are unable to trade and, as economies across the globe spiral into freefall, only those businesses which are grounded in technology can continue.

The ability of the internet to cope has been well discussed but what about the people - a different kind of essential worker, perhaps - who ensure all this technology continues to run? To find out, IDG Connect posed four simple questions to our global audience and received back answers from all continents. The weighting was towards Europe (38%), then Asia (31%) and respondents came from a range of different IT roles, with over half (51%) in leadership positions.

Over half of respondents report a great deal of strain on their department

Across the globe, IT decision makers highlight the strain this current crisis is placing on their department. When we aggregated the results into three broad categories of ‘little strain', ‘some strain' and ‘a lot of strain', 51% reported the highest strain. This was pretty consistent around the world - although interestingly, the continents which seemed to be having the most difficulties were North America (61%) and Asia (57%), while Europe appeared to be finding the transition the easiest.

North America reports the greatest strain

Security is the biggest lockdown challenge everywhere

As we can see in most working environments, keeping systems up and running does not appear to present a big challenge for IT. This is played out in the research. The big issue is security, with 52% listing it as big problem.

Remote troubleshooting also presents issues (39% globally) with some regional bias suggesting this is more of a concern in Asia (44%) and the US (47%) and less of one in Europe (33%)

Remote troubleshooting is less of an issue in Europe

Internal problems vary around the world

These global findings suggest a fairly equal divide of problems holding back the IT department during the pandemic lockdown. The smallest problem seems to be lack of staff, by a notable margin, but other factors receive relatively equal weighting.

However, the individual regions paint a different picture. In North America, the single biggest factor holding back the IT department is reported to be budget. In Africa and Asia, it is IT infrastructure - in fact, for Asian respondents, budget appears to present little problem at all. While in Europe, it is all about internal politics, with management being called out as the single biggest problem.

For North America, it is about budgets

For Asia and Africa, it is about infrastructure

For Europe, it is about management 

Lockdown measures are local but IT concerns are global

What emerges most strikingly from this research is that IT during the pandemic is a global issue, with a very similar set of challenges occurring around the world. In fact, the biggest set of regional differences appear to be those that are internal, within businesses.

In the second part of our deep dive into these research findings, published on 13th May, we'll look at what we can learn from the verbatim survey comments. Then over the next few weeks, we'll look to examine some of these findings in a bit more detail, with further industry comment and analysis.