Many of us in the UK are waking up to a coating of snow this morning, which, as typical in the UK, we are unprepared for. This results in snow days for many businesses, causing a lack of productivity. We typically see a short flurry (ignore the pun) of people asking for assistance with remote working solutions after such an event, almost as a sticky plaster to the problem. But for businesses that have truly embraced workspace transformation, a snow day should be business as usual for roles that don’t require a physical presence in a specific location.
The need for workspace transformation is driven by two demands placed upon IT.
The first being significant changes to the technologies we deliver to our users, alongside the ways in which these are managed. The second being an increased demand placed on technology by the business and the users.
Let's break these down. Within IT at present, we are seeing a major shift from an era of technology that the IT department delivered from their datacentres to PCs with largely static operating systems, owned by the company and fully managed by the IT department. This is referred to as the Client Server Era. Moving forward we are moving to a much more fluid way of delivering technology to our users, the applications are moving to the cloud, the devices are changing from just company-owned PCs to a multitude of devices with many use cases being consumed in a mobile fashion first, this is referred to as the mobile cloud era.
The second challenge we face is with the demand placed on the technologies by the user and business. While in the past the technology has been there in a supporting role to the business, the technology is now driving the business. We are also seeing increased demands from the user who is now more tech-savvy than ever before. They need to be productive and be able to quickly and easily collaborate with others on any device, from any location, at any time and where ever possible in a native fashion, i.e. with an app native to the device they are using.
These two major changes are driving the need for workspace transformation, those that are being the most successful are ripping up the rule book and their pre-defined ideas of how things should be done and have created new solutions that work for the new ways the users and business need to work.
Unfortunately, a lot of business are yet to embrace workspace transformation or think they are but are simply migrating the users to Windows 10 or a remote desktop solution. So if on a snow day like today you have users sat at home not able to work (that don’t require a physical presence in a location), or you have an IT department frantically trying to help users work in different ways, you haven’t yet transformed. Those organisations that have embraced workspace transformation will have users that can pick up any device, company-owned or personal, quickly access their data and apps, contact your customers, collaborate with others all in a secure fashion as if it was any other day.
Use today as your excuse to truly embrace new ways of working moving forward, don’t assume people will be in your office, don’t assume people will be using the device you give them, actually don’t assume anything. Work with your users, have an open mind and deliver a truly transformed workspace experience. Finally please, please, tell those salespeople who are trying to sell you VPN solutions to overcome snow days where to go, this isn’t the answer!