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Management of information in the times of internet with vast amounts of information availability requires specific skills and needs huge investments for strengthening the infrastructure that deals with information management. Professionals in the field of managing information have developed methodologies, techniques, and the best practices in the various disciplines of this vast field – Quality, Data Profiling, Data Architecture and Management, Data Integration, Master Data Management (MDM), Metadata, Data Migration, Data Security, Data Archival, etc. In the new era, with all the advancements in methodologies and technologies the management practices also needs to be updated with the pace of the new global and digital environment(Barnes, 2020).
Pandemic required the world to move into an online world that looks very different from the world one had seen before the crisis. The Covid 19 period coupled with the new-age digital transformation of firms across the nations has given rise to a new set of scope, possibilities, challenges, and opportunities, in this field. In this essay, one shall understand how exactly the Covid and the post-Covid world look in the context of Managing Information in the Digital and Global Environment (MIDGE).
MIDGE during the Covid
Going digital is about re-imagining those aspects of functioning like interaction with consumers, teaching from a distance, apps making life easier by providing services like money transfer or grocery delivery, at the doorstep.
MIDGE is crucial for the pandemic management processes. Healthcare development, stopping the spread of the virus, and saving lives is the ultimate concern of society, at this point. It is vital for the public authorities to be able to manage the necessary and critical supplies like sanitizers, oxygen, ventilators, Personal Protection Equipments (PPE), etc and all of this requires high levels of information management, at a digital level. The scale of information that appears at such times of crisis is way beyond what can be managed manually. Therefore, the need for Quarantine monitoring systems, Hospital bed and ICU tracking systems, Sample collection, testing, and reporting mechanisms, grew at a faster rate. It is also important to pass on the necessary information like guidelines of Covid appropriate behaviour, regulations, information on lockdowns, etc to the citizens through a system that is developed to seamlessly share information.
It is also important to mention that health professionals started giving online consultations to make sure that the right information and medical treatment was reaching those affected, even if they could not be physically present at a hospital, as hospitals were over-crowded and most health professionals themselves were suffering from the disease (Iivari et al., 2020).
The usefulness of the technology and digitalization of information comes in handy only when the national governments can convert the data into policies as well as extract information from the citizens as to what symptoms are more common, what symptoms are more fatal, etc. Management of information also becomes crucial to analyze the mortality rate, the infection rate in a specific region, transmission rate, and also analysis of the trends of the waves, new strains, and variants of the virus on public health. Analysis of the information present becomes a critical tool for determining the robustness of policies.
In times of Pandemic, the deadly virus is seen to have an incubation period that lasts long, high rates of infection spread, and challenges to its detection, leading to the expeditious outbreak. The severity of the situation has recognized the need for GIS to enable rapid analysis and responses, rapid dissemination of information on the characteristics of the disease and its means of spread. GIS played a crucial role for all the countries by rapidly aggregating the enormous quantities of data from various sources, spatial tracking of confirmed cases, spatial segregation of epidemic risk and the levels of prevention, prediction of regional transmission, etc (Massoudi & Sobolevskaia, 2021).
Feeding the information available, in the system, for the formation of web-based maps for the ease of the citizens has been the ultimate savior. Citizens could easily find out nearby test centers, the status of beds in the nearby hospitals or safe-homes, nearby vaccination centers. This helps the government to significantly reduce panic among the people as they will know what to do or where to go if the tragedy hits them.
One of the major concerns for when the waves have resided is to take care of the vaccination processes. This will again include dealing with a lot of information regarding the citizens so as to analyze how many doses are available, what percentage has been fully vaccinated, what percentage is yet to be vaccinated, so on and so forth. Processes for vaccine distribution, allocation, tracking, administration, and reporting will be a tough deal that will solely rely on the effective use of data from the data systems and databases of the State. Also, while managing information another important aspect to keep in mind is the privacy of the data. Citizens provide their information to various governmental and non-governmental websites for availing various health services like vaccination slot booking, it is important to ensure that their data confidentiality is not jeopardized in any manner.
The Pandemic has triggered the need for dynamic digitalization, demanding the revision of the main agenda of digitalization and bringing in a brand new media environment, innovative modes of communication, including platforms for individual citizens to go about with contact tracing, self-diagnosis, monitoring, and updating the patient’s health status (He et al., 2021).
The various platforms for the telemedicine visits, remote communication, remote monitoring of the affected patients allow health workers, who are at the very ground level of providing care, to facilitate home monitoring of the infected patients and therefore manage to provide them medical care while keeping themselves safe too. These mechanisms along with the electronic health records and, national and local information systems should assist hospital referrals of patients and allocate them beds as and when required.
The pandemic has resulted in the rising use of social media and other remote working platforms. Therefore, information management also happened with the help of mediums like Facebook, Instagram as the World Health Organization and the National governments of respective nations took to these platforms to have a wide reach on people. In fact, health professionals also used social media to aware the public about the exhausted medical staff, lack of beds, and how to deal with the crisis. On the other hand, when such vast amounts of information happen to appear in front of the public it is very difficult to segregate which information is correct from the ones which are not. Taking into account that the world is going through a rapid circulation and amplification of accurate as well as false information, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, along with the UN Secretary-General, both announced that the world is fighting an infodemic similar to the fight of the pandemic. An infodemic can be referred to as a volcano of information that erupts consisting of some accurate and some inaccurate data spreading alongside the virus. The problem is that if this data is not managed properly then infodemic will have direct negative effects on the health of the public and where people will lose their patience and no longer keep faith in science and public healthcare systems. This is especially problematic because this can make people confused about what they see or hear as so much information is available and can also increase panic and hysteria among the masses. We can also witness that infodemics get in the way of the existing cohesiveness of societies by enlarging existing issues like stigma, social inequalities, generational rift, and gender inequality.
It might look like infodemic is a new phenomenon but it is not actually so, the quantity and quick scale-up of available facts, misinformation, disinformation, revolving around the COVID-19 outbreak is unprecedented. Due to the rising challenges and opportunities brought to the people by social media platforms and new technologies, the infodemic clearly presents as the very first threat of a new digital era accompanied by the pandemic, making the situation worse. As the world practices a hygienic lifestyle it is also important to encourage healthy information sharing practices.
The overflow of this information does not know boundaries and severely affects people’s digital and eventually personal spaces. The duty of the government is to keep disseminating accurate information as studies have shown that at such times of crisis people highly rely on official government information (Aben et al., 2021). It is vital to act together to improve infodemic management online as well as offline and to make people more aware of staying together by bridging the divide and canceling out inequality. This will help in handling the pandemic in a much stronger sense when all communities come together to fight the deadly virus.
The world is still in the grip of Covid and post-Covid effects which has led to some severe impacts on every business and industry. The Information Technology (IT) sector is one of those industries which has delivered change and has positively affected both industry and the society, at large, during this crisis. Quite some industries have resorted to operating remotely without the use of technology to meet customer needs. However, most institutions have managed to handle the crisis along with keeping their working intact by requesting their employees to work from their respective homes in order to control the rapid spread of the deadly virus and tackle the health concerns of the larger public. The given change of working methods from offices to homes during the pandemic has given rise to a significant amount of deviation from original working practices with the use of IT and has allowed society to function instead of going to a complete stop. The transformation to have room for home jobs and the significant change in consumer-based practices has allowed the rapid growth of the key sectors of the IT world due to the unexpected surge in demand for services like WebEx, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. These services have allowed business continuity along with connecting people during the period of isolation.
The transition to the "Work-from-home" (WFH) concept has been pretty quick. It has now become a very acceptable mode of working in offices, in fact, online job opportunities are on a rise. However, in this mode of working the office information had to be given access to the employees at homes. This could mean a risk to the business data confidentiality and also gives rise to the concern that there is no proper check to ensure that the data is not put to any sort of misuse. Also, most offices did not get the time, due to the sudden rise in covid cases, to train its employees well regarding dealing with information online, this can pose technical problems for many who find it difficult to retrieve and process data online. This has led to higher frustration levels among employees who might find online mode a little difficult to cope with. For the purpose of businesses going online and handling vast amounts of information, all while staying at home, businesses had to resort to Cloud services as well as database services, if they did not previously.
However, it comes as no surprise that many businesses would still prefer this mode of working due to reduced costs of business functioning. The positive side effects of this- lower levels of pollutions, lower road congestions as the homes become offices.
Virtuality is the new real important things in neo-normal and post covid era. Before the pandemic we took virtuality as an option of gaining knowledge and obviously for entertainment. However, the covid pandemic has changed the whole scenario (Skeete et al, 2020). The pandemic has changed our work and incubational cultures. Moreover, it has enhanced the importance of online transduction. Most of the People become literate in using internet. Organizations from different sectors has to make some changes in their operations and organizational practices. From schools to corporate offices virtual operations has become an essential practice. Zoom meeting, Google meets, conference calls become very essential for every corporate job role. Thus, virtuality is an essential of the neo-normal rules. Moreover, virtual business operations have given rise to many new businesses and operations. Virtual businesses are often easy to operate and need less investment. Thus, many SME have established in the post covid era. It has increased the opportunity to become self-dependent and make others self-dependent. Most of the young individuals are so much satisfied with the Work from home culture that they want it to last for the entire job life (Singh, et al, 2020).
However, there are several challenges of these increased virtual operations and information management. Though the young generations are habituated and satisfied with new practices, the previous generation are not so much easy with these practices (Schutte and Stilinovi?, 2017). For example, we can see that many employees from the previous generations had struggled to cope up with virtual meeting sand other online processes. Even Many old employees had lost their jobs due to such reasons. Moreover, many educationalists have raised questions on the effectiveness of online learning processes. Is it equivalent to offline classes? Are students following fair practices for their online exams? Are the futures of these students being bright? These questions are very significant in the neo-normal era.
Though the new virtual reality has many pros and cons at the same time, we cannot deny its important and every individual should become habituated with it. Corporate organizations need to provide proper challenges to their employees before implement of any new technologies. Schools have been opened, but online education also gained an importance and explored new opportunities for distance learning. The COVID pandemic is still not over and virtual operations and activities are still an essential and priority. Thus, the new and old both generations have to come up with the neo-normal as soon as possible.
As the pandemic resets significant work patterns, pioneers need to reconsider labor force and representative preparation, the executives, execution and experience systems. Nine patterns arise as the enduring aftereffect of labor force and work environment changes coming about because of Covid pandemic interruption, as indicated by a Gartner review of 800 or more pioneers.
1: Increase in remote working:
A new Gartner survey showed that 48% of representatives will probably work from a distance to some extent part of the time after COVID-19 versus 30% before the pandemic. As associations shift to more remote work activities, investigate the basic abilities representatives should team up carefully, and be ready to change worker experience systems (Ravina-Ripoll et al,2020). Consider whether and how to move execution objective setting and worker assessments for a distant setting.
Gartner investigation shows that 16% of managers are utilizing innovations all the more every now and again to screen their representatives through techniques, for example, virtual checking in and out, following work PC use, and observing worker messages or inward interchanges/talk. While a few organizations track usefulness, others screen worker commitment and prosperity to all the more likely comprehend representative experience.
The financial vulnerability of the pandemic has made numerous specialists lose their positions and uncovered others interestingly to nonstandard work models (Ptel,2020). Numerous associations reacted to the pandemic's financial effect by lessening their project worker spending plans, yet there has since been a shift.
The pandemic has expanded the pattern of businesses assuming an extended part in their representatives monetary, physical and mental prosperity. Backing incorporates improved wiped-out leave, monetary help, changed long stretches of activity and youngster care arrangements. A few associations upheld the local area by, for example, moving tasks to assembling products or offering types of assistance to assist with combatting the pandemic and offering local area help assets and free local area administrations.
5: Separation of basic abilities and jobs
Before COVID-19, basic jobs were seen as jobs with basic abilities, or the capacities an association expected to meet its essential objectives. Presently, bosses are understanding that there is one more class of basic jobs that are basic to the achievement of fundamental work processes.
While a few associations have perceived the philanthropic emergency of the pandemic and focused on the prosperity of representatives as individuals over workers as laborers, others have pushed workers to work in conditions that are high danger with little help regarding them as laborers first and individuals second.
Before COVID-19, associations were at that point confronting expanded representative requests for straightforwardness. Workers and forthcoming up-and-comers will pass judgment on associations by the manner by which they treated representatives during the pandemic. Equilibrium the choices made today to determine quick worries during the pandemic with the drawn-out sway on the business brand.
A 2019 Gartner association configuration review viewed as that 55% of authoritative upgrades were centered around smoothing out jobs, supply chains and work processes to expand productivity. While this methodology caught efficiencies, it additionally made fragilities, as frameworks have no adaptability to react to disturbances. Versatile associations were better ready to react right course rapidly with change (García-Vidal et al, 2021)
After the worldwide monetary emergency, worldwide M&A action sped up, and many organizations were nationalized to keep away from disappointment. As the pandemic dies down, there will be a comparable speed increase of M&A and nationalization of organizations. Organizations will zero in on extending their geographic enhancement and interest in optional business sectors to moderate and oversee hazard in the midst of disturbance. This ascent in intricacy of size and hierarchical administration will make difficulties for pioneers as working models advance.
COVID-19 pandemic has altered the normal practices of different sectors and we are becoming habituated with the neo-normal. However, digitization has started before the pandemic period, it has increased the essentiality of digitalization. Digitalization has various impacts in managing information. Definitely it has made the process the process easy, but as the same time it has given rise to many potential risks such as increased cost, potentiality of cybercrimes and requirement of technological development. Moreover, common people have to upgrade some to their technological skills as the post covid era seeks more technologically advanced individuals. One of the remarkable transformations is definitively the work from home culture that has given rise to different kinds of new businesses. Most of the employees are satisfied with work from home system as it has added flexibility to the working process. The difference between the virtual and real world has been minimized and development of the virtual activities is the new real thing. On the one hand the COVID -19 pandemic has brought about many opportunities that we have never seen before. However, on the other hand the new virtual process has also brought many challenges for the individuals and organizations. Many business organizations are facing challenges in workforce and information management. Thus, proper awareness and education are required to cope with the neo-normal situation.
Aben, T.A., van der Valk, W., Roehrich, J.K. and Selviaridis, K., 2021. Managing information asymmetry in public–private relationships undergoing a digital transformation: the role of contractual and relational governance. International Journal of Operations & Production Management.
Barnes, S.J., 2020. Information management research and practice in the post-COVID-19 world. International Journal of Information Management, 55, p.102175.
García-Vidal, G., Guzmán-Vilar, L., Sánchez-Rodríguez, A., Martínez-Vivar, R., Pérez-Campdesuñer, R. and Uset-Ruiz, F., 2020. Facing post COVID-19 era, what is really important for Ecuadorian SMEs?. International Journal of Engineering Business Management, 12, p.1847979020971944.
He, W., Zhang, Z.J. and Li, W., 2021. Information technology solutions, challenges, and suggestions for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. International journal of information management, 57, p.102287.
Iivari, N., Sharma, S. and Ventä-Olkkonen, L., 2020. Digital transformation of everyday life–How COVID-19 pandemic transformed the basic education of the young generation and why information management research should care?. International Journal of Information Management, 55, p.102183.
Massoudi, B.L. and Sobolevskaia, D., 2021. Keep moving forward: health informatics and information management beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Yearbook of Medical Informatics, 30(01), pp.075-083.
Ptel, M., 2020. Social Posting in Covid-19 Recruiting Era-Milestone HR Strategy Augmenting Social Media Recruitment. Dogo Rangsang Research Journal, 10(6), pp.82-89.
Ravina-Ripoll, R., Foncubierta-Rodríguez, M.J. and López-Sánchez, J.A., 2021. Certification Happiness Management: an integral instrument for human resources management in post-COVID-19 era. International Journal of Business Environment, 12(3), pp.287-299.
Schutte, N.S. and Stilinovi?, E.J., 2017. Facilitating empathy through virtual reality. Motivation and emotion, 41(6), pp.708-712.
Singh, R.P., Javaid, M., Kataria, R., Tyagi, M., Haleem, A. and Suman, R., 2020. Significant applications of virtual reality for COVID-19 pandemic. Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews, 14(4), pp.661-664.
Skeete, J., Connell, K., Ordunez, P. and DiPette, D.J., 2020. Approaches to the management of hypertension in resource-limited settings: strategies to overcome the hypertension crisis in the post-COVID Era. Integrated Blood Pressure Control, 13, p.125.
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