Europe: Pandemic highlights regional IT cracks

We examine our European coronavirus research findings

Recent IDG Connect research showed that IT leaders from Europe were far more likely to highlight management as their biggest lockdown challenge than anywhere else in the world. Why is all about internal politics in European IT?

The Covid-19 crisis and resulting lockdowns have revealed sharp divisions across Europe. Different countries have all taken their own approaches - with varying levels of success - and some pundits have suggested all this could spell the end of the European Union. Only time will bear this out but what is clear that everything has become localised - from instances of the diseases to measures to contain it - and this need for autonomy is even showing in IT departments.

Management is singled out by European respondents to our research study as more of a problem than anywhere else in the world. Here are a few suggestions as to why this might be.

Cultural divisions rife across Europe

Way back in 2014, I did an interview with Rafael Laguna CEO of German software company, Open-Xchange, who grew up in cold war era East Germany and described how the legacy of the Stasi still plays out in German attitudes to Google surveillance today. By contrast, in the UK the wide use of CCTV surveillance is generally accepted because of the decades-long IRA bombing campaigns on British cities.

Cultural legacies have a big impact on the use of technology across Europe and also have a big impact the IT department. This is especially true of management structures, where individuals often have to take direction from physically remote leaders who don't necessarily understand linguistic and geographic nuance.

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