The services of IT departments, businesses, and associations have perhaps never been as much in demand as they have been since March 2020, when much of the world suddenly transitioned into remote work. From helping people access health care to saving the day when your Zoom just won't stop crashing, IT professionals have had a more outsized effect on our daily lives in the past 10 months than ever before. 

Considering the rapid changes already taking place, here are some of the trends that are shaking up the industry, and how they're shaping IT for the foreseeable future. 

Value placed on internal IT departments has skyrocketed.

As critical as IT has been to a company's productivity for decades, in 2020 executives were forced to acknowledge just how critical their internal IT departments were. 

In fact, according to a report by McKinsey, many leaders at companies that continued to thrive during the pandemic cite technology as one of the most critical factors in keeping them afloat. From being able to quickly adopt new technologies to finding and keeping IT talent, internal IT operations have made a huge difference in whether a company sank or swam in 2020. 

Looking ahead to the post-pandemic future, IT will continue to hold a critical role in whether a company can stay competitive. After all, many remote workers won't be returning to the office soon--or ever. Strong IT teams that can manage the infrastructure required to keep remote teams up, running, and communicating will be vital. 

IT associations are taking on bigger fights.

As the IT industry has taken on new challenges, so too have the associations that represent them. 

The professional association for IT organizations and professionals ITServe Alliance, for example, succeeded in overturning several Trump-era rules related to H-1B visas that made it harder for IT professionals to obtain those visas. 

The organization has lobbied for policies that support IT professionals for years, and this was a big win. After all, the demand for IT professionals is growing faster than the supply can keep up. Allowing U.S. companies to hire more IT workers from other countries is going to not only help them survive the lasting effects of the pandemic, but help them grow throughout the next decade. 

More businesses are turning to near-shoring and IT consulting. 

As more companies take a hard look at their IT capabilities, those that may not want to hire an internal team are turning to firms that offer IT consulting and contracting. 

This is especially true for companies that have found themselves in need of an app in this pandemic economy. Consider the many retailers and food and beverage providers, for example, that wanted to offer customers the easiest way possible to order items and pick them up or have them delivered. 

Firms are supporting this demand by allowing companies to outsource their app development to an existing dev team. That's much easier than hiring internally, or trying to piece together a collection of contractors to create your ideal app. 

I believe we'll continue to see more demand for outsourced and contracted services like these as tech continues to be a defining factor in a company's success or failure.