From Remote Work Migration to Remote Work Maturity
Dec 8, 2022
During the pandemic, IT teams moved mountains to adapt to the sudden shift to work from home (WFH). Now that remote and flexible work has become a steady state reality, it’s high time to mature the entire process of supporting remote workers, including how IT teams manage their end user computing fleet.
Remote Work Migration was a Sprint
The process of adapting IT systems for pre-existing workers who suddenly had to go home put IT teams’ focus on quickly enabling secure network connectivity to SaaS and cloud-based collaboration applications. They also had to rapidly ensure that they could monitor and support solid app performance and user experience when workers had all sorts of home office IT environments.
Network and security teams got busy building out secure connectivity either via their own datacenter or via cloud-based services like Zscaler and Palo Alto Networks Prisma Access. All that network connectivity was needed because the remote work explosion required IT teams to enable insane levels of use (and some subsequent feelings of near-insanity) of collaboration/UCaaS apps like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom, so much so that Zoom changed from a brand name to a common part of our lexicon, quickly followed by Zoom fatigue.
Finally, IT teams had to change their service assurance and monitoring techniques to allow them to understand performance of the whole digital service delivery chain from remote worker laptops, through home office wifi and Internet gateways, through ISPs to cloud-based applications or enterprise datacenters.
This unfolded in a period of months. It was an all-out sprint. And IT teams performed heroic acts of resourcefulness and velocity to make it all come together.
Remote Work Stayed to Play
But then a funny thing happened on the way back to the office. Many workers never came back to the office. The digital workforce hiring binge that has recently started to abate caused enterprises of all stripes to get a lot more comfortable hiring remote workers for skill, cost, velocity, and competitive reasons. Many companies closed their offices, adopted hybrid work as their corporate policy. And the most skilled, in-demand workers in turn demanded flexibility to work from wherever they pleased.
Workplace flexibility is now considered table stakes for competitive organizations. So much so that leading enterprise analyst firm Gartner Research has taken an outspoken stance on it. Just one example is their admonition to CIOs in the research note by Suzanne Adamms published in July of 2022.
It’s Time to Mature IT’s Approach to Remote Work
What does this mean for IT teams? The heroics of the remote migration sprint should be celebrated, but the time has come for a more methodical and braver journey of transformation.
IT must dismantle ways of equipping remote workers, embrace cloud-like solutions to enable self-service, automation, and outsourcing of lower-value equipment tasks. The reason why this is a braver journey is because while IT teams were forced by urgent circumstances to respond to the remote work migration, remote work equipment transformation maturity must be chosen by the IT teams themselves. Yet visionary IT leaders are seeing that this path is one that must be walked.
There are Ample Business Reasons to Change Your Remote Work Equipping Process
If you’re wondering why, as an IT leader, you should choose this journey, consider the following:
- Remote work equipment support is one of the least efficient, most logistically complex, yet critical and unavoidable tasks burdening IT teams today.
- IT professionals didn’t go into their career to become experts at filling out FedEx shipping manifests. Turnover has always been relatively high for desktop computing teams, but the unappealing nature of handling remote work is making it worse.
- Running remote end user computing poorly unleashes significant and costly business impacts, including lower retention rates due to poor onboarding experiences, lost assets, higher security and compliance risks.
- Trying to make remote work equipment support excellent will tie up an unaffordable proportion of your team. Just doing it at a mediocre level consumes about 500 hours annually for every 100 remote employees. Doing it well could easily eat up half of your team.
- Building the integrated software, facilities, and IT operations processes to achieve efficiency and visibility is a very tall task.
Embrace a cloud solution that handles your entire equipment lifecycle
Fortunately, there is a whole category of new solutions to this challenge that offer some combination of cloud software and outsource operational services. The key here is to ensure that you can offload the entire job for your employees and your equipment fleet. It doesn’t pay to just get someone to handle onboarding shipments for you, if you’re still stuck with the harder break-fix, refresh, and retrieval and re-inventorying parts of the equipment lifecycle and employee journey.
This means that your cloud-based solution partner needs to not only have great software, but full lifecycle services anchored by real facilities that allow for secure handling of the physical chain of custody across that equipment lifecycle, including space for your inventory to live.
If you’re ready to learn more about how to make this all a reality for your business, request a demo.