Rethinking Business as Usual – Guest post by Neil Thurston, Chief Technologist in Logicalis UKI
It goes without saying that the pandemic permanently changed the way people work and how organisations operate. Hybrid working has become the norm and employee expectations have evolved – and will continue to do so – as people balance professional and personal responsibilities in a way that works for them.
The success of this, and the benefit that companies can extract from the same, is reliant on them being willing to embrace the new way of working and rethink business as usual by remaining agile and being ready to adapt through digital transformation.
It is also reliant on organisations understanding and implementing the strategies, technologies and processes that will enable people by enhancing their experience, providing choice, and upholding governance. In turn, people will be empowered, and businesses will thrive.
By supporting people with the right tools and technologies – regardless of whether they are in the office, working from home, or splitting their time between the two locations – will mean they can work how and when they want. This will ensure they are more efficient with their time and can be more productive, perhaps working fewer or more scattered hours but achieving more during this time.
Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) comes into play here. Even if you don’t use desktop or applications as an organisation, this approach is based on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and ensures that all workers have the same enhanced experience by accessing applications over the internet.
Of course, it’s not ideal having staff turn off their videos on communication platforms during meetings so their audio works better or finding them unable to work effectively due to poor bandwidth on home networks. This impacts collaboration and productivity levels. By helping them overcome such obstacles, organisations benefit from increased engagement and output.
There are so many options out there in terms of communication and collaboration platforms. All of them have different strengths and every organisation has different needs. For example, with DaaS, Microsoft works alongside Citrix which has HDX technology. This optimises the flow of video-calling and delivers a superior app and desktop experience.
Furthermore, some companies make a decision based on security, while others like a certain provider. Whatever combination of technologies you go for, ensure they deliver a consistent experience and that you measure the performance of them. Otherwise, you can’t decide on what option works best for your team and business requirements.
In fact, a lot of organisations end up choosing a collaboration platform based on trial and error. This is beneficial if you can afford to be patient because until you put these tools into practice and evaluate their performance day to day, you’re not going to grasp the benefits or shortfalls. There are also some companies that have a selection so individual staff members can decide based on their personal preference.
Speaking of individual staff members, monitoring and understanding people’s digital experiences is crucial – and that means across all departments at every level. Ask people how they find working with the technologies and what their connectivity is like.
After all, you can’t solve a problem you don’t know about. Speaking to your team regularly will provide an insight into the efficacy of your IT strategy. There are also solutions that can be deployed that measure performance, highlight issues and deliver reporting capabilities.
Remember, an empowered workforce is an effective one and can have a positive impact on service delivery levels. Moreover, it makes people more likely to remain with the company as they feel valued and it could increase your organisation’s standing in terms of attracting the best talent, which is vitally important given the global skills shortage.
The key is to let people use the tools that best support productivity but introduce levels of governance and monitoring around these. Similarly, if embracing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which a lot of companies are doing as a result of the pandemic, make sure to adapt and safeguard business processes accordingly.
Furthermore, it is not simply a case of rolling out the best-in-class security solutions but equipping staff – who could be working in isolation for prolonged periods of time with hybrid working – with the knowledge and training to successfully prevent cyberattacks and data breaches.
If it’s not possible to uphold the performance and governance of infrastructure using your existing IT resources, it could be time to consider outsourcing and engaging an expert managed services provider. Nowadays, no business can afford to have technology that isn’t functioning properly, adequately secured or supporting business requirements.
The world of business was turned upside down during the pandemic. It was a challenging time and still is for many. It also presented an opportunity to rethink how we work by embracing agility, evolving processes and empowering people. With the complexity of hybrid working and the fear of the great resignation, businesses are no longer as draconian as they used to be when it comes to what technologies they deploy. Yet, in order to take advantage of this flexibility, they must remember to adopt the right approach – otherwise, they won’t thrive.