Heading into 2020, the focus on employee experience, productivity and security was a dominant theme for tech decision-makers. In a proprietary survey of 3,500 IT and line-of-business buyers conducted by TechTarget, “investing in technologies that improve the employee experience” was the number one digital transformation priority for 2020.
Beyond that, decision-makers cited end user security training as their top investment project and security/risk management as the area that would see the largest budget increase in 2020. As noted by TechTarget VP of Market Intelligence Jonathan Brown: “The employee experience investment theme carries through across virtually all technologies.”
And that was before the coronavirus pandemic. The importance of delivering a great, secure and productive employee experience hasn’t changed, but the reality of actually doing it has. IT must now be able to deliver this experience to a workforce that is more distributed and remote than they could have anticipated when the year began.
Now, more than ever, IT has an opportunity to transform end user productivity to enable individuals and teams to be productive anywhere and everywhere they are physically located. Here are the top factors to consider:
- Remote collaboration tools: Many users are just now getting inured to the idea of working and collaborating remotely. IT teams need to ensure they have an easy-to-use, secure, unified communications and collaboration platform. Key features to demand include persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage, application integration and open extensions to expand the availability of innovative tools. Please view the related guide: “Innovator’s Guide to Remote Meetings.”
- Modern devices: The need for tools is not just in the collaborative software; it’s just as important for users to have modern devices with high reliability and high-productivity features that are designed to fully leverage the benefits of their most widely used software programs. For example, equipping users with Microsoft Surface allows them to take advantage of the entire ecosystem of Microsoft software with a modern device that features detachable touchscreens, premium audiovisual experience, and built-in security protections, with all the power of Windows.
- Infrastructure: With more users working remotely, including IT teams, organizations must be agile in delivering the reliability, resiliency, performance and security required for a more diverse and disbursed workforce. The organization has to understand and analyze the infrastructure required to support this workforce, whether on-premises at the edge or in the cloud. Many IT teams are turning to the cloud because of economics, agility and scalability, but each organization should do its own analysis on how to evolve the infrastructure to focus on user experience and productivity.
- Modern management: Separate from the infrastructure is the platform to manage and secure endpoint devices. Your solution should take in the needs of users for a more intuitive, collaborative, self-service-oriented and “consumerized experience” that allows them to focus on their work and not the technology. New users should be able to take a device out of the box and be productively using it in minutes, not hours. The management platform must meet security and compliance needs while making things simpler and less expensive for IT teams, enabling them to leverage the cloud, automation, remote tools, machine learning and analytics to do their jobs more efficiently from anywhere, for everyone, everywhere.
- Corporate culture: Technology is critical, but companies that ignore corporate culture risk alienating workers and missing an opportunity to transform their workplaces. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, 90% of CFOs believe improving corporate culture increases a company’s business value and performance. The article cites research showing that 65% of people would rather have lower pay than deal with a bad workplace environment. Corporate culture is often top-down, and driven by line-of-business managers and leaders across the organization, including the IT department. It means: Constant communications; enlightened leadership; remote training; best practices in cybersecurity hygiene; constant monitoring of employee attitudes and behaviors, and easy access to remote support and guidance, among other factors. Please view the related eBook: “The 4 factors of the new ROI equation.”
The changes that are taking place in the workforce today are a harbinger for what organizations should expect—and plan for—in the future. The trends toward remote work, remote collaboration, distributed teams and online access were in place well before the coronavirus pandemic began.
What’s happening now is that everything is being accelerated because more people are working remotely and more customers are being turning to online sources for their needs. Remote work is here to stay. While some people will return to an office at some point, it will likely be in a hybrid environment. No organization will want to place its bets on an “office-only” strategy now.
Fortunately, the tools, technologies, devices and platforms are available for organizations to adapt quickly and decisively, mitigating some of the risks of this ongoing transformation and avoiding potential business disruption.
To learn more about how you can put in the right foundation to enable a great user and team experience to anywhere, from anywhere, please visit Microsoft.