**From the August 2020 issue of AOTMP® Insights**

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the rules of social and business engagement. Social distancing, while not permanent, is the new normal. In the work environment, telecom, mobility, and IT professionals have risen to the office displacement challenge and made Work From Home (WFH) , Work From Anywhere (WFA), and Work From Everywhere (WFE) a reality. It happened quickly, there were hiccups, there were pleasant surprises, and the global workforce is now settled into a new routine. Now what?

Five themes will dominate the telecom, mobility, and IT management industry during the second half of 2020.

First, the industry will continue to see change in connectivity demands and technology use cases. The next normal may include waves of migration back to offices for some, while others may never return to a corporate office. Regardless, resetting technology to meet changing demands of the next normal hinges on the same technology professionals that made WFH/A/E work during the first half of the year.

Second, the next six months will see increased focus on user enablement and optimizing the cost of enablement. Network endpoints are now the central focus of network design and they are rapidly changing. The baseline from which capacity, consumption, and type of connectivity decisions are made is fluid, which prompts many questions. Does each user have what they need to effectively communicate? Do users have hardware, software, and/or services that they don’t use? What network elements are idle? Which network elements need to be kept? Which elements can be sunset? In essence, networks are being rethought and reconfigured as endpoint demands morph.

Focus on data security and data privacy is a third theme that will continue over the second half of the year. During times of crisis, bad actors emerge to prey on the vulnerable. Networks are vulnerable. Hardware is vulnerable. Software is vulnerable. People are vulnerable. Collectively, shifting endpoints and network connectivity variables increase the likelihood of data breaches, phishing, malware, ransomware, and the like. While not a new concern, protecting company, customer, and personnel data will continue to be a top priority as networks and endpoints change.

The fourth theme will be contract management. Contractual commitments for purchasing volume, retention terms, and revenue terms are challenged by the unpredictable nature of the times. Evaluation of risk in commitments from all contracting parties will require additional attention. Analysis, forecasting, and adjustments will occur frequently. Change orders and amendments are likely to take to precedence over new sourcing events.

The final theme is vendor management and partnership. Contractual commitments aside, buyers and sellers need to work together. Uncertainty is changing the rules of engagement and new partnership conversations and conventions are necessary. Everyone needs to adapt quickly – and frequently – to emerge from the chaos.

telecom, mobility, and IT management industry

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About the Author: Timothy C. Colwell

Timothy C. Colwell