By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

THE PANDEMIC is changing how skilled workers in the information technology (IT) industry are viewed and treated, said ManageEngine, a global technology company, noting they are expected to get higher pay and budgets after the crisis.

“It is known that the Philippines has a fast-growing IT industry, backed by strong business process outsourcing, software development and IT-enabled services sectors. As organizations worldwide go remote, they depend even more on their IT teams to provide better IT support. According to a survey, IT teams will have a greater appreciation in terms of budgets, salaries and recognition of efforts after the crisis,” Pradyut Roy, product manager at ManageEngine, told BusinessWorld in an e-mailed reply to questions on July 28.

“However, we are also witnessing a wider adoption of chatbots, which could potentially impact L1/first level IT technician jobs,” he added.

In its latest study published in June, ManageEngine found majority or 83% of IT professionals globally believe they will be better viewed and treated post-crisis.

“There’s no doubt that the efforts and hard work of IT support staff, in particular, were recognized as playing a key role in dealing with the crisis and the challenges it brought with it. In a similar way to how healthcare workers, supermarket staff, and delivery personnel were all lauded for the vital contributions they respectively made during the crisis, IT staff were usually more appreciated than previously,” it said.

ManageEngine conducted its survey among more than 500 global IT professionals, focusing on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on IT teams.

Of the 60% of respondents asked if chatbots help with remote support, half of them or 50% believe the automated conversational agents are helpful.

The study also found most companies (70%) do not have a bring-your-won-device (BYOD) policy in place, especially during the pandemic crisis.

“So, there were no agreed corporate rules related to personal IT use and security, and the support of personal devices, that could be applied to help with the continued productivity of employees in their new remote working environments,” it noted.

About 53% of the respondents whose companies moved to the cloud said it helped them considerably during the pandemic crisis while only 25.97% said it did not help as much as expected.

Mr. Roy noted the government and the private sector should consider adopting cloud services as they accelerate the adoption of remote working.

They should also increase investments in cybersecurity to meet security compliance, he said. “It is more critical than ever now, considering all the employees are remote and there is no longer a controlled network perimeter with a firewall.”

Both the government and the private sector should likewise increase their investments in improving the broadband infrastructure to ensure employees can continue to work remotely and to ensure business continuity, Mr. Roy added.

In order to avoid job losses due to automation, he said companies should start upskilling their employees.

He added that the Philippine IT industry will likely start to feel the effects of the pandemic in the next six to 12 months.

“The transition to back to the office will only pick up gradually with employees likely to continue their work from multiple locations, including home. As such, organizations will continue to invest in security, remote management and collaboration tools,” he explained.