Remote working, a challenge and an opportunity?
In recent times the world has seen many business disruptive events, natural and man-made. But the Covid-19 global pandemic presents practically every organization with unprecedented challenges. The ability to cope and address these challenges will likely depend on either adapting your operating model or scaling existing systems to support increased remote working.
Whether your organization is one that has embraced home working or is culturally averse to the whole idea, like it or not, home working is the new reality and probably part of your day-to-day business operations. If you have effective home working in place then you are at an advantage. You have probably attracted the best talent, improved employee retention and optimized your office requirements. Now though, more than ever, remote working is critical to keeping the business going and growing for the future.
For organizations that have been averse to the idea, maybe it is time to re-evaluate. So assuming that this or some form of the current situation is now the norm, embracing home working to address the immediate challenge may also set you on a path to improved competitive advantage.
Key to effective remote working
For any organization there are many remote working considerations. In general they fall into two broad categories – team management and IT systems support. Having clear and established guidelines for employees and their managers is central to effective remote working. However, particularly in times of crisis when circumstances rapidly evolve, working policies may not be clearly established. It may be that business operations are temporarily impacted. There are many useful blog posts from management consultants and research organizations providing essential guidance on effective remote working for teams. Our focus though is on IT and providing digital workspace continuity. IT can have the greatest impact in keeping the business going by delivering existing desktop and app environments to employees wherever they are able to work.
Organizations that already have remote work capabilities in place are at a considerable advantage. Nevertheless, every organizations’ ability to deliver is likely to be hindered in some way. Whether it’s not enough experienced IT resources or critical system capacity, lack of usage intelligence or the ability to scale quickly enough. Understanding all of this can cost valuable time.
The key to friction-less remote working is the availability of familiar services. A remote working solution has to extend what users already use and know well. For example, moving to alternative online applications that require any degree of learning is simply going to add complexity making the situation worse. Similarly, any solution has to work in favour of IT. Implementing virtual private networking to access from home might seem like a good idea. But it is going to require device intervention and all the increased support overheads that involves. In addition, the risks of data being stored on unauthorised and potentially insecure devices is likely to be too difficult to mitigate or accept.
Make workspaces virtual
Virtualizing users’ desktop and application environments is by far the most effective and scalable solution. It allows employees to work anywhere on devices that are available to them without the need for reconfiguration or intervention from IT. Whether you already have virtual desktops in place or are in the process of implementation, then it is likely that you will need to quickly scale to cope with the increased demand.
When sudden spikes in remote working demands arise with the sort of severity we are now experiencing, it is the simplification and automation of repeatable processes in the delivery of infrastructure that will enable this sort of rapid scaling. Understanding what applications are critical to operations and extensive intelligence to guide deployment requirements with a mechanism for their rapid delivery will keep critical business operations functioning.
Know your apps
As we have said, requiring workers to adapt to anything significantly new is too disruptive. Their focus will be on trying to run business as usual (as it can be) albeit from a new workplace. Understanding what apps – desktop, web or SaaS – are in use and their importance is vital to keeping operations running as smoothly as possible. There will be apps that are obviously critical, some that will not be important to supporting core business operations. There will be others you may not know about, yet play a key supporting role.
At times like this, when infrastructure, skilled IT people and resources are stretched to capacity we learn how resilient our systems are. While we rise to these challenges, many of which will stretch the best IT departments beyond their limits, if we are also able to understand how systems and infrastructure can be made more resilient it can only be a good thing.
How can we help?
Apps2Digital is an online Azure hosted service that delivers evergreen application life cycle management. Our unique approach to virtual workspace app management helps organizations to rapidly adopt remote working to become more agile and resilient to business interruption.