Businesses today are navigating one the biggest shifts we are likely to see in our lifetime – the era of the hybrid workforce
In the wake of the pandemic, organisations of all types and sizes were forced to accelerate their digital transformation strategies to maintain business continuity in the rapid shift to remote and hybrid working models.
Most succeeded, albeit under some duress, in accommodating the needs of their staff and customers throughout the pandemic. Now, these same organisations are faced with a new challenge; how best to sustain that strategic and operational change, ensuring the technologies that took them into remote working sustain them in the truly hybrid model that has surfaced.
It’s clear that businesses can achieve and sustain long-term benefits from the digital transformation initiatives they rapidly deployed. To be truly successful, they need to ensure their long-term implementation drives growth, enables innovation and, crucially, improves employee experience at a time when it matters most.
Partnering for success
Putting aside the upheaval brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has always been the case that any technology a business adopts should be done so with both eyes firmly on the future.
Essentially, tools and technologies, whether cloud-based communication and collaboration platforms, Intranets, or security and identity management capabilities, must align with a businesses’ core objectives. Otherwise, adoption, employee engagement and customers will suffer.
A trusted and dedicated technology partner should provide services which enable organisations to transform and evolve their IT infrastructure, processes and culture. More than this, they must also ensure these solutions are secure-as-standard and that ongoing support is available to drive adoption and ultimately, success.
Firstly, a technology partner must be able to effectively assess the bespoke needs of a business and advise on the optimal solutions to drive long-term growth.
Secondly, technology must be implemented with maximum ROI in mind, always aligning with a businesses’ digital transformation roadmap.
Lastly, these roadmaps need to place user and employee experience at their heart. They should incorporate plans for continual improvement, which, in turn, is fundamental to offering employees all they need to thrive in a hybrid world of work.
Whether providing a managed service or consulting and implementing as a one-off IT project, a technology partner should have a deep understanding of a customer’s long-term business roadmap.
They should be able to advise where adoption will enable desirable outcomes. This does not mean rushing to implement new platforms or adopting new licenses as they are made available. But rather, taking a full view of the existing technology stack and assessing where value can be unlocked.
Unlock unused functionality for maximum ROI
Platforms that were implemented during the pandemic might be able to service the needs of a business in ways previously not considered. Organisations that implemented Microsoft Teams, for example, are quickly realising it is much more than just a video calling tool. For many, it’s a place where they spend the majority of their working day communicating and collaborating. And with Microsoft adding features, functionality and integration capabilities to the platform constantly, this will likely only accelerate.
Before on-boarding new tools, it’s better for businesses to take a closer look at their existing subscriptions for unused software or functionality to ensure maximum ROI on the technology investments they already have in play.
The same applies to upgrades for existing packages. If there is any doubt that they will deliver value, a trusted technology partner will advise against them. To ensure this is the case, businesses should consult with their service providers and understand where maximum ROI can be gained.
Focus on employee experience
Managing the shift to fully remote or hybrid working and the impact on employees’ daily workflows is something all businesses must be mindful of. Technology support and management for remote working has been, and will continue to be, a key component in enabling employees to remain productive within their digital workspaces.
Now, employees must contend with managing new platforms, with new security, device and identity access management protocols and tools in place. They must also navigate the cultural shift brought about by home-working and hybrid models, with many a working day spilling over into evenings and weekends as the lines between the office and our private lives become blurred.
The spontaneity of the office has also been lost, as colleagues can no longer be pulled into quick meetings and consulted ad-hoc. Where discussions might have once been quick water cooler chats, they’re now 30-minute video calls with agendas, claiming diary space and leaving less time for day-to-day tasks.
Further to this, enterprise cloud platforms are updated regularly, with new features and integrations occurring on a continual basis. This can often lead to staff feeling lost and frustrated with their organisation’s technology.
This increase in ‘technostress’ must be managed effectively to ensure that technology is adding value, improving workflows and communication and collaboration for employees across the business.
This is where technology partners are essential. By first understanding the needs of the organisation, as well as those of the users, they can establish the bespoke support requirements and feed these into each new implementation.
At a time when various platforms have, in many instances, been adopted reactively, implementations are unlikely to have undergone the typical design, planning and change management process. This is where a knowledgeable and experienced partner can really add value and vital support.
To do so, they must take into account the principles outlined above. They must have a robust understanding of the products and services that exist in the enterprise technology ecosystem. They must understand how these can add value and where support will be needed the most.
Once these details have been scoped and the initial relationship forged, a businesses’ technology partner will provide invaluable support in developing the strategic roadmap to address core business challenges and objectives. The result is long-term, strategic digital transformation.
About the Author
Geoff Kneen is Group Managing Director at Content+Cloud. An accomplished Business Leader, with a 20+ year track record of success in engineering, management consulting and technology arenas, Geoff drives transformational change and growth across the business.
Featured image: ©Chinnarach